Today: February 21, 2024

Casa de mi Padre

Though seen by few, 2009’s hilarious blaxploitation spoof Black Dynamite remains one of the few parody films of recent years that actually seemed to understand the genre it was mocking.

Though seen by few, 2009’s hilarious blaxploitation
spoof Black Dynamite remains
one of the few parody films of recent years that actually seemed to understand the
genre it was mocking.
While the Wayans brothers seem to have convinced
everybody that lame in-jokes and regurgitation will do thanks to the endless Scary Movie franchise, few films have
come anywhere near to contesting Airplane’s! crown as parody
king. So can one of comedy’s current dependable stars, Will Ferrell,
do for Mexican drama what Dynamite
writer Michael Jai White did for ‘70s blaxploitation films? Well,
almost.

Whilst not exactly
matching Airplane for its gag rate, there’s still plenty to
enjoy in director Matt Piedmont’s take on some well-worn
Mexican clichés. Here Ferrell plays Armando, the lesser of two brothers, who’s
happy hanging out with his downbeat friends on the ranch. When his rich brother
Raul (Diego Luna) returns home, his
father is overjoyed. But Raul’s arrival has upset local drug baron Onza (Gael
García Bernal)
, who sees him as a rival
to the area’s drug trade. As anyone who’s seen any kind of western knows, this
won’t end well.

To his credit, although Ferrell’s clearly having fun
here in comfortable genre territory, it’s admirable that practically all of his
dialogue is delivered in near flawless Spanish. Though we may have seen the
character many times before, at least Ferrell manages to breathe life into Andrew
Steele’s
script; meaning even routine lines generate a hearty chuckle thanks
to his deadpan delivery.

However, Casa de mi Padre works best with its
fabulous sight gags, whether that be the rather repetitious use of green screen,
a few moments of deliberately bad editing or, in the film’s best laugh, a
fabulously silly cigarette moment involving García Bernal, who’s obviously up
for the comic ride.

It might not share Dynamite’s period detail,
nor can it match that film’s ridiculously fun belly laughs, but for Ferrell
fans – and even Ferrell fence-sitters – Casa de mi Padre is a throwaway
piece of fun that proves this star’s still got a few tricks left under his
sombrero.

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