Today: April 21, 2024

Casa de mi Padre

Armando Alvarez (Will Ferrell) is a simple soul.

Armando
Alvarez (Will Ferrell) is a simple soul.
He’s been content to live and work on
his father’s ranch in Mexico all his life, has never had much truck with women
or the outside world. But when
shady international ‘businessman’ and prodigal brother Raul (Diego Luna) returns to the ranch
offering to pay all their father’s debts, with fiancé and hot tamale Sonia (Genesis Rodriguez) in tow, Armando
finds love for the first time with his brother’s woman. Things are further complicated when
it’s revealed that Raul’s ‘business’ is the drug business, bringing the decent,
honourable Armando into conflict with sleazy Mexican drug baron and Raul’s boss
Onza (Gael García Bernal), a man so
tough and evil he smokes two cigarettes at
the same time!
When Onza
kidnaps Sonia, a man’s gotta do what a man’s gotta do and Armando saddles up to
deal out his own brand of justice.

Filmed entirely in Spanish with English subtitles and
played in the style of a melodramatic Mexican telenovela (all heaving bosoms,
swelling music and bad dialogue), a lot of the reviews for Casa de mi Padre will tell you that it’s an interesting
failure. A bold mistake. A noble misfire. They’re wrong! It’s not interesting! And it’s not a mistake either. The pendejos responsible inflicted this
tedious, unfunny mess on us deliberately.

A colossal vanity project the likes of which even a
rampaging egotist like Sacha Baron Cohen
couldn’t get away with, Casa de mi Padre is smug, cheesy, self-indulgent,
one-joke movie. Unfortunately,
that joke will be lost on most of the audience who won’t have experienced the
Mexican soap operas Ferrell and chums are spoofing. It’s an overwrought genre where men are men, women are
beautiful and busty, passions are scorching and the bad guys are more twisted
than a corkscrew. Casa de mi Padre
is like an ultra-violent episode of Acorn
Antiques
in which Mrs Overall takes a Peckinpah-esque shotgun blast to the
chest and still manages to plant one between Miss Babs’ eyes as her wounds
ejaculate blood all over the wobbly set in slow motion.

While this might have made a decent 3-minute sketch on
Ferrell’s Funny Or Die website or an
amusing but slightly annoying recurring character on Saturday Night Live, the film stretches material thinner than Jason
Statham’s hairline out to feature-length.
At 84 loooooooong (oh, so
long) minutes, Casa de mi Padre is the metaphorical equivalent of Will Ferrell
dropping his trousers and waggling his junk in the audience’s face, tea-bagging
them into submission while purring “Laugh, mi putitas, laugh,” in his schoolboy
Spanish.

Throughout he wears the stiff frowning of a man who’s trying
desperately to remember why the hell he thought doing a movie in Spanish was a
good idea or, possibly, if he left the iron on at home. He looks like a constipated Ron Perlman
straining on the toilet. However, Diego Luna and Gael García Bernal are obviously having a whale of a
time out-sleazing each other and the wonderfully monickered Genesis Rodriguez
looks great. Everyone looks like
they’re having a great time, really enjoying themselves. And there lies Casa de mi Padre’s
biggest problem. It’s not that
everyone seems to be really enjoying themselves; it’s that everyone seems to be
enjoying themselves more than you!

Casa de mi Padre may just be the least funny comedy since
the last cinematic stillbirth Adam Sandler dropped off at cinemas. Actually, that’s an exaggeration. Nothing’s as bad as Jack And Jill. Still, Ferrell can’t slip back into Ron
Burgandy’s loafers for Anchorman 2
soon enough.

Alex Moss Editor

Alex Moss’ obsession with film began the moment he witnessed the Alien burst forth from John Hurt’s stomach. It was perhaps ill-advised to witness this aged 6 but much like the beast within Hurt, he became infected by a parasite called ‘Movies’. Rarely away from his computer or a big screen, as he muses on Cinematic Deities, Alex is “more machine now than man. His mind is twisted and evil”. Email: alex.moss@filmjuice.com

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