Monday, March 19, 2012

"Do You Speak American?"

This has got to be one of the strangest movies I'm ever going to review. Not because of the movie itself--Casa de mi Padre is a relatively straightforward telenovela parody--but rather because my ultimate feelings about the movie were hard to digest. The premise runs something like this: Armando Alvarez (Will Ferrell) is a cowardly ranchero who must toughen up in order to restore the dignity of his family that has been besmirched by his brother Raul's (Diego Luna) drug business. It also just so happens that Raul is getting married to the beautiful Sonia (Genesis Rodriguez), who is also the niece of the Mexico's rival drug lord, the merciless Onza (Gael Garcia Bernal). While there are a good couple gags, Casa de mi Padre is relatively straight-faced and falls back on cheap sets and unrealistic props to hold up the majority of its humor. We get poorly drawn sets, cheap driving backgrounds, and a stuffed, fake mountain lion.

In short, I didn't find myself laughing out loud very often, but here's the thing--I thoroughly enjoyed the story. While it might not have held up so well as a comedy, in the end, it was just a damn fun movie. It was as though, halfway through, the writers forgot they were writing a comedy and instead decided to have as much fun as they could in the telenovela genre. The action sequences were great, the dramatic, nefarious villains were great, heck, I even enjoyed the music. As for the actors, the main draw of the film for me was not Will Ferrell (even though my affection for him grows a little bit with every new comedy, I still have a snakeskin of unresolved bad movie issues to shrug off), but rather his two supporting players--Diego Luna and Gael Garcia Bernal. I've been looking forward to a reunion of their chemistry since Y Tu Mama Tambien, and they certainly did not disappoint. Both brought hilarious performances to the table, especially the mighty Onza who stole the screen whenever he was in it. My only complaint was that there simply wasn't enough of them--though the one scene they share in a bar is excellent.

I will take the preemptive measure of saying one thing: I have the vague suspicion that this movie will get quite a bit of slack for its portrayal of Mexico. To which I have only one thing to say: it's called Casa de mi Padre and it stars the very America Will Ferrell as "Armando Alvarez". If you can't find anything amusing about that sentence, you might be offended. However, if you enjoyed the likes of Planet Terror (2007) and can stomach a little satire, I recommend checking this one out.


  1. I've always been a sucker for spoofs of poorly made movies, though if they're not exceedingly clever they will wear out their welcome before the end credits. This movie sounds like it might work, as the telenovela is ready made to be parodied. I will have a look around for it - thanks for the heads up on it!

    1. I thoroughly enjoyed it, so I think if you're a fan of spoofs you'll like it too! The thing is, the humor isn't exactly slap-stick or in your face, so it's one of those things you either get, or you don't. But I'd recommend checking it out!

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