With 1991’s High Heels, Pedro Almodóvar hit a new career low, producing a florid riff on ‘40s and ‘50s women’s pictures that’s not funny, suspenseful, or original. The Byzantine plot – about a caddish man who’s two-timing TV news anchor Rebeca Del Paramo (Victoria Abril) with her pop star mother Becky (Marisa Paredes), as well as a transvestite (and cop!) who impersonates Becky and is both having a child with Rebeca and investigating her for the murder of her first husband (got that?) – is a laundry list of Almodóvar fixations. There’s a lightness to the early scenes that’s bolstered by the director’s typical penchant for bright color schemes and pulsating, extravagant music, and I couldn’t resist laughing during a scene involving the daughter confessing that she killed her hubby on TV while the sign-language newscaster disbelievingly communicates the news to hard-of-hearing viewers. Shortly thereafter, however, the film’s pacing goes limp and Almodóvar resorts to dull stabs at humor such as a random dance sequence with female prison inmates that seems based on John Waters’ equally tepid set piece in Cry-Baby. As the title suggests, the film’s melodramatic females are all dressed stylishly, and there’s the requisite nod to Buñuel’s legendary foot fetish. Yet despite attempting to tackle the intricacies of mother-daughter relationships, religion, identity and sacrifice, it’s tough to care about anything going on in a film as dry, stilted, and lifeless as High Heels.