My Big Night tells you what it is right up front: big with a capital “B,” a maximalist extravaganza satirizing the day-to-day life on a show business set that has a dark bite lurking in the colorful madness’s shadows. Directed by the always gonzo Álex de la Iglesia (Witching and Bitching, The Last Circus), My Big Night brings the Spaniard’s wicked edge behind the scenes, letting a flashy, Edgar Wright-esque cartoonishness dominate this pastiche.

Álex de la Iglesia My Big Night

Poking fun at fame, jealousy, ego, and superstitions, My Big Night takes place during the filming of a New Year’s Eve TV special while a union strike rages just outside the set. Jose — played by Pepón Nieto as a mix between Nick Frost and Jean Reno, with the deadpan weariness of Ricky Gervais’ best performances — is an unemployed actor, called in at the last minute to replace an extra whose absence relates to one of the film’s funniest jokes. His arrival coincides with the egomaniacal demands of pop legend Alphonso (Raphael, playing wonderfully on his own career/persona), the new hotness of current sensation Adanne (Mario Casas, playing a hyper-sexualized Bieber hunk), and the constant turbulence of the production team as they try to finish their shoot.

The breakout star of the whole thing is Casas, who, bearing the same star quality as Channing Tatum, overwhelms the screen. With wonderful comedic timing, Casas plays big, dumb, and broad with the same perfect physicality and dancing chops that turned Tatum into an A-lister — especially when performing a firefighter-themed song-and-dance number that feels like a bonus scene from Magic Mike XXL.

Other fun people to watch (the whole thing is a carnivalian bacchanal of absurd pleasure) are Blanca Suárez (The Skin I Live In) as an actress dubbed a jinx by her notoriously superstitious co-workers, reveling in her own ditziness with wickedly vibrant pleasure, and the wild-eyed Jaime Ordóñez as a completely hammy, murderous Alphonso super-fan.

My Big Night 1

Self-reflexive plots and dialogue pepper the proceedings: as writers complain about stupid audiences needing repetitive dialogue, plot points are covered again and again. Scheming tabloid scandals bubble beneath the bubblegum while, right outside the set’s literally sheltered walls, police and union protesters violently clash. Sometimes violent, often hilariously bleak, and delightfully absurd (especially in a running gag about the Wi-Fi), My Big Night attacks its own warped industry with the same over-the-top antics it often employs to distract its audience from real-world issues.

A constant chain of instigations, whether they be by the arrival of Jose’s extremely religious mother or the violent practicality of Adanne’s agent — played by Tomás Pozzi as a combination of Always Sunny in Philadelphia’s Frank and Charlie — link to one another explosively as the volatile personal and professional relationships erupt in total insanity. The reigns of this beast often feel loose, flapping against the breakneck breeze, especially when trying to shoehorn in a criminal subplot by the production head. But regardless of a dropped plot thread here or there, the tone is always riotous. Acid drips from every line and visual gags double as celebrity commentary while still delivering sublime slapstick. Even if it sometimes stops making sense, My Big Night never loses its sensibility.

My Big Night opens on Friday, April 15.

Grade: B+

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