Set in Madrid on what appears to be the hottest day of the year, Km.0 works up a bit of a sweat introducing us to 14 characters whose love lives intersect in ways only a scriptwriter could understand. Make that two scriptwriters. Yolanda GarcÃa Serrano and Juan Luis Iborra co-wrote and co-directed this Spanish comedy, which is structured like a farce but isn't really madcap enough to call itself a farce. Pedro AlmodÃvar is the touchstone, obviously, and Km.0 is set in that Almodovarian universe where men are men and women are women and you never know which will wind up with which. The movie also has Almodovar's polymorphous affection for social outcasts -- hustlers and prostitutes, middle-aged women on the verge of a nervous breakdown. What it doesn't have is AlmodÃvar's wackiness or tackiness. It's surprisingly tame.
Madrid's Puerta del Sol, from which Spain marks distances in its highway system, is the movie's starting point -- a plaza where several of the characters are supposed to meet for the first time but, for various reasons, wind up going home with somebody else. The aspiring filmmaker goes home with the aging prostitute. The sexually repressed businessman, who was supposed to go home with the aging prostitute, goes to a bar with a gay pick-up. The gay flamenco dancer, who was supposed to go home with the gay pick-up, goes home with a gay man who's looking for a relationship. And so forth and so on. Some of the storylines are more interesting than others. But if it's any consolation, all the characters are very easy on the eyes, which may explain why, despite the missed connections, everything works out for the best.