Dir. by Matt Piedmont - 1 hr. 25 min.
by Clayton Hollifield
Look, "Casa de mi Padre" is a really weird movie. It was funny, I enjoyed it, but damn, that was a weird movie. There's a psychedelic trip scene, there's Matchbox cars, there's a giant animatronic white tiger or panther or whatever the hell it was. Oh yeah, the entire thing is in Spanish, as well. Even Will Ferrell only speaks Spanish for (nearly) the entire film.
Here's the basic overview (although, as is frequently the case with comedies, it's the execution that matters more than plot points): Armando (Ferrell) works on his father's ranch, along with his friends Esteban (Efran Ramirez) and Manuel (Adrian Martinez). Armando's brother, Raul (Diego Luna), returns home with his bride-to-be, Sonia (Genesis Rodriguez). But Raul is mixed up in some shady business, and Armando falls for his brother's girl. And rival drug dealers do what rival drug dealers do.
The bottom line for me was that when I saw the trailers for this film, I knew I'd have to see it. If I've suffered through "Semi-Pro," then I was going to have to see exactly how Ferrell was going to pull off a film done entirely in Spanish. As it turns out, it's really, really weird. And it works at times. Subtitles really are the enemy of comedy; they are necessary, but distract from being able to watch the actors, you know, act. Some of the humor comes from this - the characters will do things that you can't play close attention to while you're reading subtitles, and then you'll look up and Onza (Gael Garcia Bernal) has two lit cigarettes in his mouth. There's also a lot of visual humor, things like Armando awkwardly helping Sonia onto a horse that don't sound very funny, but the execution is there. It also continues the trend of the year of Nick Offerman popping up once or twice, being awesome, and disappearing for the rest of the film (just like "21 Jump Street")
But a weird movie, and an intermittently funny movie, do not necessarily equal a good comedy. It's not bad, and there are a couple of inspired moments (the barroom scene with Armando, Raul, and Onza is one such, as are a couple of musical numbers, one at a campfire and the other at the end of the film, and there's a fight between some coyotes and the white jungle cat that's got to be seen to be believed), and I did laugh all the way through. But often, the laughter was out of wondering where the hell what's in "Casa de mi Padre" came from. I was on board from the point when I saw the trailer, and if you were hooked like I was, I don't think there's any way you'd be disappointed from what you saw.
But again, this isn't exactly a good movie. It's a really weird low-budget comedy that Will Ferrell must've wanted to do, and it's fun, but it's also apparent in the first five minutes of the movie that one of the challenges of the film was always going to be how to extend the jokes that they had into a feature-length film. There's enough success to warrant watching "Casa de mi Padre," but it might not be one of Ferrell's movies that you return to over and over again.
2.5 / 5 - Blu-Ray