Will Ferrell is back, and he's speaking español. In Casa de mi Padre, Ferrell plays a dumb yet idealistic Mexican rancher named Armando whose beliefs are challenged when he encounters his brother's beautiful fiancé (Genesis Rodriguez) and discovers that his brother (Diego Luna) is a drug dealer who is gearing up to go to war with rival La Onza (played by Luna's Y Tu Mama Tambien costar Gael Garcia Bernal). As is evident from the plot and the lead actor, Casa de mi Padre is stupid and funny at the same time. ¡Ay ay ay!
Directed by Matt Piedmont and written by Andrew Steele, who both have collaborated on "SNL" and "Funny or Die Presents...", Case de mi Padre is a spoof on Mexicana film. Having never watched the movies of which the film lambasts, I can only imagine that they entail obviously painted scenic backdrops, loads of inconsistencies and more cheesy moments than not.
That is prime material for a Will Ferrell movie.
Case de mi Padre isn't among Ferrell's best movies; it's a little slow at times, it forgets to be funny in others and it never fully embraces the material it's mocking (or celebrating?), but clocking in at only 84 minutes, it has enough random moments to smooth over its issues.
Ferrell's Spanish is pretty good, even though he isn't always saying what is displayed in the subtitles (and yes, the entire movie is in Spanish), and he makes for a likable enough hero. The rest of the cast appear to have fun as well. Fans of "Parks and Recreation" will be happy to see Nick Offerman, better known as Ron Swanson, play a small part. Genesis Rodriguez, who was terrible in Man on a Ledge earlier this year, redeems herself, even though she once again has a single mission: to look incredibly sexy on camera.
[Editor's note: she succeeds in her mission.]
Casa de mi Padre isn't a great movie, but it's one of those films - especially one of those Will Ferrell films - that will get better with time. Like with so many of his movies, even Padre's flaws will eventually become selling points as it slowly climbs to cult classic status. And it will, because it has the absurd, random moments and ridiculous slices of dialogue that people love to reference.
It's disappointing that the filmmakers didn't do more with their gimmick - Casa de mi Padre could have been sillier and more off the wall - but they've made a movie that's just good enough. It's also a return to form for Ferrell, who hasn't starred in a memorable live-action comedy since 2007's Blades of Glory. Bueño, Señor Ferrell. Bueño.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.
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