Rick Blaine's classic line about the problems of three — or in this case, four — little people not amounting to a hill of beans in this crazy world has rarely rung more true than while watching the deliberately quirky Spanish relationship drama “Extraterrestrial.”
Sure, “Casablanca” and Humphrey Bogart are timeless icons, but it's never a good sign when you're watching a film for the first time and you can't stop thinking about another movie's quote. That was my experience with writer-director Nacho Vigalondo's slight, self-consciously oddball tale of love, lust and lies during an alien invasion.
An official Toronto International Film Festival selection, “Extraterrestrial” opens with that awkward moment as Julio (Julian Villagran) awakens hung over, befuddled and practically naked in the apartment of the fetching if unfamiliar Julia (Michelle Jenner). Apparently, he and this strange beauty partied so hard the night before, they not only can't recall each other's strikingly similar names, but they also managed to sleep through the arrival of a 4-mile-wide flying saucer now hovering over Madrid.
As they struggle to remember just what happened between them the bleary night before, the pair learns that with the exception of a few particularly stubborn and potentially crazy denizens, most of the city complied with a military-run evacuation while they were passed out all day. The lingerers include Julia's weirdo neighbor Angel (Carlos Areces), who harbors an obsessive crush on her and refused to leave when he saw her car still parked in front of his. Angel isn't pleased to see that the stunning object of his affection already has male companionship during what could be the end of the world, but he is even less happy when Julia's boyfriend Carlos (Raul Cimas) turns up, having hiked eight hours back through the confusion when he realized his ladylove wasn't among the evacuees. Of course, Julio wasn't even aware that his one-night-stand had a boyfriend.