Casa De Mi Padre was always an odd film, when it was first announced that Will Ferrell and producer Adam Mckay would be teaming up again for a take on Mexican telenovelle’s shot entirely in Spanish, it almost seemed like a Joaquin Phoenix’ styled practical joke. Co-starring with pretty much every Hispanic actor we know of (Gabriel Garcia Bernal, Diego Luna and Efran Ramirez) and people we would love to see a lot more of on the big screen (Nick Offerman from Parks And Recreations and the many online memes his moustache has created) Casa de Mi Padre takes the grindhouse approach to Spanish Melodrama’s what Black Dynamite did for Blaxploitation movies.
We have sudden cuts in editing, missing reels, extreme zoom ins and slow-mo’s, what we don’t have unfortunately is a consistent sense of comedic purpose.
Armando Alvarez is a good-hearted, soft brained rancher taking care of his father’s Mexican farm when his city slick -and drug dealing- brother (Diego Luna with a most nasty moustache) comes back with his ravishing fiancé Sonia (Genesis Rodriguez) to get married and secretly make a play for drug lord Onza’s (Gabriel Garcia Bernal) territory. But what happens when Armando falls in love with Sonia? And when Sonia’s past is revealed?
One of the first problems that Casa de Mi Padre encounters is that the style of movies it tries to spoof isn’t really something European audiences are too familiar with. Will Ferrell movies usually rely on a lot of absurdity and quotable lines which in this case are completely lost as the movie is entirely in Spanish and as Will Ferrel’s face, when speaking Spanish, is just so damn distracting. (Just try imagining it, I’ m sure it will crack you up)
This is a crux that the movie hangs itself on quite a few times and when it doesn’t it, throws painted backgrounds and mannequins disguised as extra’s spoofing the low budget approach these movies supposedly take.
Usually I find Will Ferrel’s shenanigans hilarious (I am totally Team Spamoni) and Casa de Mi Padre does need you as an audience member to buy into his brand of absurdity. It’s not as funny as his best (Anchorman, Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby) but not as bad as his worst (Land of the Lost, Semi Pro).
What Casa de mi Padre does have is an excellent supporting cast who seemed to be totally on the same page. Special mention to Gabriel Garcia Bernal who plays an incestuous, drug lord with a penchant for wearing white (as they all seem to in Mexico) and Genesis Rodriguez who probably had a tough time playing the straight faced femme fatale/ love interest opposite her hilarious co-star.
There is a love-making scene between Genesis and Ferrell with multiple butt shots that I hope for everything that is sacred that they used a body double ( For Ferrel at least).
In a way Casa de Mi Padre almost reminds me of a movie like Couple’s Retreat. Sure the cast and crew were all in on the joke and had great fun making it, but the questions that I am still not sure about is, is it fun to watch for audiences too? At the end of the day it really depends on how you feel about Will Ferrell and his comedic sensibilities. So if you like him, subtitles don’t annoy you go watch Casa de Mi Padre, I can guarantee you will most definitely have a so so time.
Oh yeah there is also an animatronic White snow leopard that speaks.
Casa De Mi Padre is in theaters June 8th 2012