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I have nothing but respect when actors or filmmakers take risks, and
this was a risk on Will Ferrell's part. Ferrell is already a
hit-or-miss comic actor, with a few great movies under his belt and
just as many forgettable. For every ANCHORMAN there's a LAND OF THE
LOST. I'm not the biggest fan of his movies but when's he good, he's
good. I was happy to see Ferrell had the nerve to release a small
movie, low budget with deliberately poor production value, and
completely in Spanish. In a time when so many American moviegoers
refuse to sit through a movie they'll need to "read", you've got to
love what you do to go against the grain with a film like CASA DE MI
PADRE. Good for Ferrell and his film buddies for doing the movie, and
the best part is
I actually enjoyed it. Well, not at first. The movie
is done in the style of Mexican/Spanish telenovelas. It's a feature
length soap opera/Spanish western, and I know that alone will turn some
people off. It is the tale of Armando Alvarez (Ferrell), a simple
ranchero working on his father's land when his beloved brother Raul
makes a triumphant return to their homestead with exciting news. Raul
(Diego Luna) is to be married to the beautiful Sonia (Genesis
Rodriguez) and he has plans to revive his father's dying ranch. But
with the dangerous drug lord La Onza (Gael Garcia Bernal) moving in on
their land, Armando discovers that his brother might not be as noble as
This movie needed an extra viewing to really grow on me. I wasn't impressed the first time, believing it to be a one note joke dragged out to feature length (Will Ferrell speaking Spanish poorly. I can hardly contain my laughter.) But, really, there is a lot of hilarious stuff here. It's just subtler than I was expecting. The best bits are a lot of the little things. Sure, there're some blatantly funny parts, especially with the deliberate poor production value. Painted backdrops, obvious sets, obvious props, rear projection, etc. But then there are the little things. Raul never without a cigarette and drink in his hands, even in the midst of a violent gun battle. Armando can't roll a cigarette to save his life (although the commentary with Ferrell reveals that he can, in fact, roll a cigarette just not when he's trying to remember his lines in another language). The melodrama, the cheesy line delivery it's great. The opening of the movie sets the tone perfectly: Ferrell in a field with his fellow rancheros and a herd of cattle. Ferrell stoically dismounts from his horse and approaches a small brown calf the scene cuts to a new angle as he bends down to pick it up and he rises with a blatantly fake black calf as he stares dramatically into the sun. Boom cut to the trippy, James Bond-ish opening titles with none other than Christina Aguilera singing. It didn't win me over at first, but I love it now.
I have to give Ferrell credit: there are times when he almost sounds fluent in his Spanish. I love his musical numbers. He's a perfect balance of serious and absurd, though I hate to say we're treated to an abundance of Ferrell butt shots. I could've done without that. The rest of the cast is even better. Diego Luna is solid gold as Raul with swagger and confidence, and Genesis Rodriguez (an actress with an actual history in Spanish soap operas) is both amazingly beautiful and the only one giving her role an honest try. She gives the movie it's biggest dose of dramatic performing, taking her role 100% serious amongst all of the bizarre. And then there's Gael Garcia Bernal .this dude is hilarious. Easily the funniest part of the movie in my opinion. Again, he's not outright goofball in his performance as the movie's villain, La Onza. It's the little quirks here and there that he tosses in. He had me laughing harder than anything else at times. All the more reason it's a shame that a lot of people will probably skip this movie because of it's strange premise and it's use of Spanish with English subtitles. You don't have to be familiar with telenovelas to enjoy it; I certainly wasn't. A passing familiarity with them and an open mind is enough to enjoy CASA DE MI PADRE, one of Ferrell's better films.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
OK. This is not a movie one watches for the plot. No siree, Juan. There were tons of sight-gags, many of which I missed. Female lead=smoking. Will Ferrel and his lovable loser pals sing a great song in the middle of this flick, a song so full of fun and life that we snagged it off YouTube and made a CD of it for ourselves. Brother Raul looks as much like a drug dealer an anyone could, including Donald Fagen in concert. (The guy from Steely Dan, for the young-folk.) Armando's "discovery" that his bro is a dealer is akin to realizing that in a movie with prim and proper aristocratic English schoolchildren, the children will indeed be evil. (Think 'Village of the Damned)"You are a narco!" Well, the Pope wears a white outfit as well. Very funny. The big star of this movie is The Onza or the Jag King, an absurdly stuffed white cat you wouldn't give as a toy to that screaming neighbor kid down the hall for Quanza. Pretty stiff and bulky. "And now it's time for your vision." Hilarious! And why is the moon full on every night of every movie ever made in history? This flick is no exception. Some here have said that the jokes were stretched out too long. That's the point! Drive those stereotypic references to every Mexican potboiler movie ever made into the sod, and then drive them into the the dusty soil again! I loved that. This movie is not for everyone. If you like Will Ferrel, awkwardness/randomness in general and a drop dead gorgeous female for once loving brothers to fight over, check this one out. It was very funny, but excepting for the obvious charm of the stuffed White Jaguar, I'm not really sure why we laughed so hard. And where did Will get that dashing white leather embroidered outfit from in the denouement in an hour or two? Pretty spiffy for the "More Cowbell" legend.
This movie shows that contrary to what I thought about Ferrell, this is a real artist that no longer cares about making tons of money but want to DO CINEMA while at the same time entertain and have fun. THIS IS WHAT REAL CINEMATIC ARTS are all about. People that thought this is not funny just don't know the telenovelas and the classic low budget Mexican cinematic arts world. Go investigate that context and have fun watching this film. It's too bad Hollywood won't support real cinema. It just cares about the money. This movies, along with Napoleon Dynamite and Instructions not included are excellent examples of the global multilingual world we live on. "Do you speak American" sums how ignorant we have become as a community. Thumps up for Ferrell.
I expected this to require a beer before being funny, given some
reviews I've read, but actually, it's far far more than it appears. I
don't know what it would be like to watch without knowing Spanish, but
knowing both English and Esp, it's brilliant. The opening sequence is
the perfect mood-setter and the occasional purposefully-terrible
special effects through the movie really complement the "telenovela"
style. It has an awful lot to say if you look beyond the surface, and I
have to say that after hearing Will Ferrell's accent for a while and
being very impressed, the more "american version" of Spanish seen later
in the movie is one of the funniest scenes of my cinema year.
If can see the extremely thin, almost invisible social-political line that this is walking down, it's very, very funny. If you can't see that line you may get bored.
If you're a Will Ferrell fan, this isn't quite exactly the same kind of
Will Ferrell comedy that you might be accustomed to (except there is a
scene where you see his awkward, pasty buttocks, but... that's to be
expected I guess). Casa de mi Padre is supposed to poke fun at
Telenovellas, so unless you are familiar with that genre and understood
the fun that this movie is intended to poke fun at, then you will not
get this movie at all. I certainly didn't. I wasn't able to connect
with anything. I found the jokes awkward and haphazard. Some of the
scenes are obviously badly done on purpose, but it's still painful to
watch. The worst part was the love scene...which was just awful.
From an outside looking in perspective, I'm not sure what this was supposed to be. It's not outright comedy to me, and it's not really a drama. It's a parody targeted for a limited audience, so not really everybody's cup of tea.
Although it's amusing to see Will Ferrell speaking Spanish - he's pretty good in my opinion! And Gael Garcia Bernal is still sexy as ever as the evil drug-lord Onza. I watched this film out of curiosity, but wouldn't personally recommend it.
A comedy about two brothers (played by Will Ferrell and Diego Luna) in Mexico, fighting a drug baron (played by Gael Garcia Bernal). Meanwhile, a beautiful women (played by Genesis Rodriguez) adds to the intrigue...
While it has some pretensions to being a modern western, the movie is clearly intended to be a comedy. Problem is, it's not that funny. The humour is offbeat, Mel Brooks sort of stuff. However, Blazing Saddles this is not - Blazing Saddles is funny...
Therein lies the problem, I think - if the joke doesn't hit its mark it bombs entirely, and there are far more misses than hits in this movie.
So what you have is mostly just silliness, rather than humour.
We start out good with an Oscar-worthy theme song performed by
Christina Aguilera. The soundtrack is pretty good in general. But the
film goes down from then on...
The budget must've been really low since many of the locations are models and stages. But at least they make fun of their low quality, like in the White Cat sequences.
The scenes are overacted, sometimes decent, but at least it was intentional since it was made in soap opera style. Amazingly, Will Ferrell can speak Spanish very fluently. Nick Offerman's Spanish was OK.
The story is boring, it only becomes interesting in the wedding scene and on forth which is the 2nd half of the movie. I think what most ruined the movie was the extremely cheesy love story. I guess it's justified since it's basically a soap opera. Besides who wouldn't fall for the lovely Sonia played by the Genesis Rodriguez?
This is one of the toughest movies I've had to rate. It had to go down between a 5/10 (Meh) and a 6/10 (OK). So I officially rate it 5.5/10
'Casa de mi Padre', a Spanish-Language American-Comedy, is an average
watch. It's prime focus is on comedy, but sadly, the jokes are limited
only till it's first-hour!
'Casa de mi Padre' Synopsis: Scheming on a way to save their father's ranch, the Alvarez brothers find themselves in a war with Mexico's most feared drug lord.
'Casa de mi Padre', despite it's crisp running time of just 84-Minutes, fails to leave much of an impression. The narrative is ordinary. The jokes in the first-hour work, but the second-hour disappoints. Andrew Steele's Screenplay is funny, but only in parts. Matt Piedmont's Direction is standard.
Performance-Wise: Will Ferrell is the sole saving grace. He's earnest & believable all through. The rest of the performances range from average to below average.
On the whole, 'Casa de mi Padre' underwhelms.
"If you were smart you would know that you are dumb."
Directed by Matt Piedmont (known mostly for his work in Saturday Night Live and the Funny or Die videos) and written by Andrew Steele, Casa de Mi Padre, is a spoof on the Mexican tele novellas. It was a nice idea, but poorly executed considering there were very few funny moments and five minutes into the film the gags wore off. This could have worked much better as a 5 minute skit in SNL, but it doesn't have enough comedic moments to carry the film for 80 minutes. I'll give Casa De Mi Padre credit for being original and for trying something different, but the story just dragged during most of the film. Will Ferrell surprised me as he delivered all his lines in Spanish by learning them phonetically; he may not have spoken perfect Spanish but he did a decent job and I had no problem understanding him. Unfortunately despite having an interesting idea for the film, the execution was just too simple and the laughs were practically nonexistent. Casa De Mi Padre is a hollow film and there isn't much more to it.
Armando Alvarez (Will Ferrell) has been living in his father's ranch in Mexico all his life. He's not bright, but he's loyal to his father, Miguel (Pedro Armendariz Jr.). He spends most of his time with his buddies, Esteban (Efren Ramirez) and Manuel (Adrian Martinez) goofing around while he cares for his father's animals. His younger brother, Raul (Diego Luna), is an international businessman who has returned to save the ranch and introduce his new fiancé, Sonia (Genesis Rodriguez), to the family. However, Raul seems to be running an illegitimate business and Armando warns him he has brought trouble to the ranch. The town's drug lord, Onza (Gael Garcia Bernal), has declared war on Raul for interfering in his area, while Raul has also drawn the attention of DEA Agent Parker (Nick Offerman).
Will Ferrell is a funny guy and most of his films work for me, but Casa De Mi Padre is just too dull and uninspired. It's a shame because there is a talented cast, Diego Luna and Gael Garcia Bernal are two of the best Mexican actors, Nick Offerman always delivers, and Genesis Rodriguez is a beautiful actress. I grew up in South America, so I'm familiar with the novellas they were trying to spoof, but after five minutes the jokes wore off. The trailers made me believe this was going to be hilarious, but it wasn't at all. There were some funny moments involving the production design and the animatronic white jaguar, but everything else was poorly executed.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
"Casa De Mi Padre" qualifies as the weirdest Will Ferrell comedy ever
made. First, the entire film is spoken in Spanish without any obvious
dubbing. Reportedly, Ferrell spent a month learning how to speak
Spanish and delivered all his lines in Spanish. Second, this is a spoof
of Mexican telenovelas, soap operas with endings. Third, despite being
a comedy, "Case De Mi Padre" is horrifically bloody. When characters
are gunned down, you are usually treated to ragged bullet holes in
apparel and splatter bursts of blood. One shooting occurs in the
distance so that we don't see blood splatter, and the villains drag
corpse away behind an automobile. Fourth, despite all this R-rated
violence, the film is obviously a comedy because everything is so
incredibly deadpan. You can actually enjoy this nonsense as a straight
drama despite some of its goofy characters because everybody behaves in
such a straight-faced and serious fashion. Apparently, since I have
never seen a telenovela, the production values are the bottom of the
barrel. Mind you, not quite Ed Wood, but not far off. There are scenes
here when the hero and heroine are shown out riding horses and you can
tell that the horses are ersatz and the scenery sometimes moves more
often than the characters. Some scenes show Ferrell and his friends
cruising around in a pick-up truck with obvious back projection.
Occasionally, the film breaks and bits are missing.
The plot amounts to something of a reunion. The oldest son of a rancher, Raul (Diego Luna), comes home to receive his father's blessing for an impending marriage to sexy Sonia (Genesis Rodriguez). Renowned Hispanic actor Pedro Armendáriz Jr., plays the eponymous father. Ferrell plays the younger and often dumber son, Armando, who loves to ride the range, rescue calves, and rhapsodize about the agrarian beauty of the ranch. For the record, according to Box Office Mojo, "Casa De Mi Padre" coined a little more than $8-million. Director Matt Piedmont and screenwriter Andrew Steele have a lot of fun spoofing Mexican soap operas so much so that the joke isn't jokes in the film as much as the film is a joke. Critics who have complained that the film lacks hilarity are missing the point. "Case De Mi Padre" is a fantastic comedy that never wears out its welcome at 84 minutes and maintains a straight face throughout. The opening credits theme song is belted by a la "Goldfinger" style by Christiana Aguilera.
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