Film Review: Casa de mi padre

You have to give Will Ferrell credit. You don’t often see American actors attempting to do movies in foreign languages, especially ones that they don’t know. And then to do a comedy on top of that. He just piled on the challenges with his film Casa de mi padre. Unfortunately, the film has too many goofy, predictable Ferrellisms. It seems dumb jokes are universal.

Casa de mi padre has a stellar line-up. Diego Luna and Gael García Bernal, both native Spanish speakers and top movie stars in the film industry as well as in their home country of Mexico, play Ferrell’s brother Raul and the bad guy drug dealer Onza, respectively, while Pedro Armendariz Jr. plays the brothers’ father. The storyline is that Raul has returned to his home with his va-va-voom fiancee but trouble isn’t far behind. Ferrell’s Armando is a dimwitted and naive ranch hand. Raul, who seems to be dealing drugs, to Armando’s utter shock, and is infringing on Onza’s territory.

I’ll give Ferrell credit. As I said, he tried something new. I do respect that. But it just didn’t work. It wasn’t until about the last five minutes that there was a joke that even deserved a laugh, a smirk or even a chuckle. The vast majority of the film is in-jokes — poking fun at the dialogue, the actors’ non-stop smoking and the gratuitous violence — that those without knowledge of Mexican films and novellas from the 1960s and 1970s, like myself, just aren’t going to get or appreciate. The concept was there but maybe it just needs treatment by Tarantino or Rodriguez.

Corinne

In a previous life, Corinne ran a music website. After going strong for a decade, the site went on a hiatus. Consider her the antiTastemaker.

  • Loisa

    I’ll side with you on the basis that Casa de Mi Padre can be appreciated a lot more by one who has knowledge of Mexican novelas and such. Although I grew up on the stuff, I didn’t bother to see this movie in theaters. I decided to save my money, and I waited until I was able to find it through my Hopper’s Blockbuster @Home app to watch it. I actually thought it was hilarious, and the mixed translations throughout the movie especially made it funny. I watched it with one of my friends I work with at Dish who doesn’t speak Spanish, and he missed a lot of funny moments because he was too busy reading. I would like to see Tarantino or Rodriguez take a spin on this genre; I think that they would be more sensitive to the needs of the non-Spanish speaking viewer.

    • reverberations

      Hi Loisa, Thanks for your comment! I think where comedy is concerned
      it’s always a personal thing but you made some great points that I
      definitely agree with. It’s hard getting all the intricacies when you
      don’t have the same language or cultural experiences. But it’s still fun
      watching! 🙂

  • http://www.reverberations.net/ Corinne

    Hi Loisa, Thanks for your comment! I think where comedy is concerned it’s always a personal thing but you made some great points that I definitely agree with. It’s hard getting all the intricacies when you don’t have the same language or cultural experiences. But it’s still fun watching 🙂