With three men orbiting a beautiful woman, Spain’s Extraterrestrial employs all the weapons of an idiosyncratic (careening into black) romantic comedy: deception, humor, passion, jealously, the threat of great violence, and the reality of light violence—also a bit of fun with a tennis ball machine. What’s with the title? Oh, that has to do with the giant spaceship hovering over the city, which is not funny at all. It’s a dead-serious spaceship. Extraterrestrial is a comedy dropped agreeably into an alien invasion—well, maybe not invasion. The spaceship just sits there. The blockbuster military action might be happening a few miles away or not. Director Nacho Vigalondo (Timecrimes) chose to focus on those who don’t flee, don’t fight, and don’t really panic, those who missed their city’s evacuation by being so bloody hungover from the night before. Julio (Julián Villagrán) and Julia (Michelle Jenner) wake up to a world gone silent—TV, Internet, most citizens of Madrid: gone—and launch some weapons-grade relationship damage control to deal with the consequences of their wild night out, prompted by the appearance of two other men in Julia’s life. It’s a bit of cruel fun, hanging a spaceship up there like Chekhov’s gun.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on June 13, 2012