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What CASA DE MI PADRE couldn’t fully deliver in comedy, it makes up for it in the concept, the style, and Will Ferrell’s unbelievable dedication to his Spanish speaking role. Ferrell hasn’t been funny in a long time in my opinion, since Anchorman, but seeing him in this different light gives some kind of new-found respect because even though his Spanish is very basic and very limited, it’s more than obvious that the man gives his all. Comedy-wise, CASA DE MI PADRE works well as a satire or a parody, it’s not necessarily laugh out loud but it’s certainly unique…
Armando Alvarez (Will Ferrell) has lived and worked on his father’s ranch in Mexico his entire life. As the ranch faces financial strains, Armando’s younger brother Raul (Diego Luna) shows up with his new fiancee, Sonia (Genesis Rodriguez) and pledges to settle all his father’s debts. It seems that Raul’s success as an international businessman means the ranch’s troubles are over, but when Armando falls for Sonia, and Raul’s business dealings turn out to be less than legit, the Alvarez family finds themselves in a full-out war with Mexico’s most feared drug lord, the mighty Onza (Gael Garcia Bernal).
I think screenwriter Andrew Steele’s mistake is that he treats this movie like he did his old SNL sketches, CASA DE MI PADRE does feel like a very long SNL sketch and the humor often happens only at the end of every scene either by way of endless chuckling or a character that would smoke more than one cigar at once for no reason whatsoever, that kind of joke only goes so far, it doesn’t do much to tickle your funny bone. The best comedy, to me, is when the character is desperate, when he’s cornered and his reactions aren’t met accordingly.
CASA DE MI PADRE on the other hand, tries hard to spoof the drama of Mexican soap opera to the point where the dialogue even comes off serious.
But it’s a good thing that director Matt Piedmont plays it silly, thanks to the use of miniatures and puppets, fake animals, and life-size dolls. Hilarious? not exactly. Silly, you betcha!
I give mad credit to Will Ferrell for taking on this gig, as I said earlier, his Spanish is basic and limited and I’m sure it must be challenging for him to stick to the script considering he’s known for his habit of going improv.
His character, Armando Alvarez, is goody two-shoes, hopeless romantic, passionate, considered coward by everybody else but he’s actually got some cojones, he’s the kind of man who fights for his woman.
Y Tu Mama Tambien guys, Gael Garcia Bernal and Diego Luna are strong supporting actors in this film, those two fellas aren’t strangers to each others’ rhythm, it’s one of those cases where you just roll the cameras and let them do their magic. New hottie in town, Genesis Rodriguez who plays the female lead, is beautiful and captivating.
I think the movie tries its best to balance the tone between the comedy and the whole drug-trafficking commentary, but sometimes it’s done at the expense of the comedy.
The entire opening credit sequence, with a song by Christina Aguilera, looks like a James Bond opening theme for a Mexican Godfather movie if there ever was one.
CASA DE MI PADRE pokes fun at old Mexican movies, Spaghetti western and cheesy Telenovelas. And all I can say is.. finally, Will Ferrell is worth watching again.
GRADE: 3 out of 5
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