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Álvaro Fernández Armero
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If GO director Doug Liman collaborated with Pedro Almodovar on a remake of that film, you might just about get something equal to NOT LOVE JUST FRENZY. Set in the mid-'90's omnisexual club scene in Madrid, there's plenty of sex, drugs, betrayal, death and dance beats to go around. Those not used to movies with subtitles probably won't have the wherewithal to stick with this one, but veteran viewers of such fare as WHAT HAVE I DONE TO DESERVE THIS?, WOMEN ON THE VERGE OF A NERVOUS BREAKDOWN and AMOR DE HOMBRE know that the eventual rewards are worth it.
Blond, hedonistic nymphomaniac bartender/actress Monica (Caetana Guillen Cuervo), sweet- natured Yeye (Ingrid Rubio) and vivacious activist Maria (Beatriz Santiago) are three flatmates looking for a fourth to let a spare room at their place, to stretch the rent with some extra dinero. Unfortunately, friendships and romantic entanglements will be the main things stretched past the breaking point, when Monica decides to rent the room to Max (Nancho Novo), Yeye's sexy, shady ex-boyfriend who has a secret he won't let get out, and a certain appendage he can't seem to keep...in his pants.
Keeping the pot at a roiling boil are subplots including Alberto (Gustavo Salmeron), Yeye's gay "play husband" who is having an affair with a married bisexual, Alex (Javier Albala) and a mad infatuation with straight physique model, David (Liberto Rabal); Luis (Javier Manrique), a psychotic cop masquerading as a secret admirer of Maria's who has his own agenda involving Max, and Maria's own secret crush, Carlos (Juan Diego Botto), her cute student pal who lives right next door, and confides in her about his latest romantic involvements, clueless to how she really feels about him.
Just for spice, add a lesbian madam named Cristina (Bibi Andersen) who also has Max's number; a coterie of drag queens so over-the-top they make the girls from PRISCILLA, QUEEN OF THE DESERT seem downright genteel; sex that just avoids becoming triple X-rated porn, prodigious drug use, more sex and a murder investigation that will turn everyone's lives even more topsy-turvy...if that's possible.
This arch spoof of all the sex-drug-and-drama gay genre films seems at times like a mess, but the writing is tight enough that you can follow all the plot twists, without getting as lost as some of the characters seem to be in their own little worlds. And though the DVD box trumpets the presence of Javier Bardem and Penelope Cruz, you better not blink if you don't want to miss them. Not that it matters - the cast is engaging throughout, and in the midst of all the "Frenzy" of the title are some gorgeous and striking scenes, such as Monica flouncing down a busy city street in French Renaissance attire and sunglasses, and David in a nude rooftop scene (don't ask - just watch for it.)
Overall, one of the better non-Almodovar entries to the canon of gay-themed foreign films from the last decade.
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