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Breaking the language barrier: Will Ferrell stars in una película española

 

 
Overview
 

Genre:
 
Starring: , , ,
 
Directed By:
 
Studio:
 
MPAA Rating:
 
Release Date: March 16, 2012
 
Length: 84 minutes
 
Directing
7.0


 
Plot
7.0


 
Acting
8.0


 
Cinematography
7.0


 
Total Score
7.3
7.3/ 10


 

Whoa


A deliberately campy sendup of the Mexican telenovela, Will Ferrell plays it straight while straight actors Diego Luna and Gael Garcia Bernal go over the top.

No


The low-budget comedy also could have succeeded as a 15-minute short.


Bottom Line

Casa de mi Padre provides some good laughs and is so self-consciously campy, it’s destined for our DVD collection.

0
Posted March 20, 2012 by

 
Full Review
 
 

We love the fact that comedian Will Ferrell often attaches himself to projects that have little hope of mainstream success. In 2010, for example, while he starred in blockbusters such as The Other Guys and Megamind, he also played a loveable loser in the indie flick Everything Must Go, a film that grossed a paltry $2.8 million at the box office.

Ferrell’s latest such endeavor is Casa de Mi Padre (House of My Father), a Spanish language send-up of the Mexican telenovela that opened over the weekend in a very limited release. Despite the fact that it stars Ferrell in the lead role, it’s a low-budget comedy that’s not likely to draw a large audience (at the screening we attended, there were literally two other people watching the film). Still, that doesn’t prevent Ferrell from having fun with the subtitled role by taking it pretty seriously.

The film opens with Armando (Ferrell) and his buddies out on the range sharing a laugh when they witness the drug lord Onza (Gael Garcia Bernal) commit a ruthless murder. Armando is committed to keeping drug money off his family’s ranch, but that all changes when his brother Raul (Diego Luna) shows up with fiancee Sonia (Genesis Rodriguez) and offers to take care of the family’s money problem by paying off his father’s debt.

Raul, it turns out, is dealing drugs, and he incurs the wrath of Onza, who vows to kill him. Armando must defend not only the ranch but also Raul and Sonia from Onza and his druglords, not an easy task since Armando is by all accounts a “coward.” While this plot description doesn’t make the movie sound much like a comedy, its flat scenery, overly significant telenovela glances (worthy of Triunfo Del Amor) and awkward cuts show it is clearly all in jest. Armando and his pals sing insipid songs while hanging around the campfire and in one scene Onza tries to be intimidating while juggling two cigarettes in his mouth.

Ferrell doesn’t speak any Spanish, but successfully delivers his lines without breaking character. But even funnier than the funnyman playing it pretty straight are the seasoned actors being over the top. While they’re not known for comedy, Bernal and Luna are terrific as the two rival drug dealers. Also worth mentioning: Parks and Rec’s Nick Offerman has a small role in which he hams it up at a racist American cop.

A deliberately low budget affair with a thin plot that would probably better suit a 15-minute short, Casa de mi Padre by design isn’t great filmmaking by any stretch of the imagination. And there’s a way in which the brutal drug lord killings are grossly inappropriate given what’s been happening in Mexico lately. That said, the movie provides a good laugh or two and is so self-consciously campy, you can’t help but forgive it its faults.


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