There are few performers as consistently funny and interesting as Will Ferrell. Sure, he’ll take a gig in a studio paycheck film, but often those are often weird and interesting too (say what you will about Land of the Lost, that’s not a boring choice), and so it’s no surprise that Ferrell would appear in a movie in which he spends the entire movie speaking Spanish. He stars in Casa de mi Padre as a rancher stuck in the middle of a drug war. He’s between his brother (Diego Luna) and the town’s vicious drug lord (Gael Garcia Bernal), and all three have interest in his brother’s fiancée (Genesis Rodriguez). Our review of the Blu-ray of Casa de mi Padre follows after the jump.
Ferrell stars as Armando, a simple farmer with two simple cowhands (Efren Ramirez, Adrian Martinez) as friends. He witnesses a mob murder, but does nothing, and goes home to find his brother Raul (Luna) has come back with money and a lady named Sonia (Rodriguez). She and Armando fall for each other right away, but it’s complicated. At home Armando’s father Miguel Ernesto (Pedro Armendáriz Jr.) thinks he’s an idiot and celebrates his brother, even though it’s obvious Raul earned his money in illicit ways.
Then enters Onza (Bernal), who is pissed at Raul and looking to get revenge. This partly is due to Raul stealing Sonia away from him. There’s also some government interference with the DEA (headed up by Nick Offerman) investigating the drugs.
It seems that the film most influential on this movie is Grindhouse, as this film sets about aping the style of other things for both intention and comic effect. In Casa there are moments when it makes fun of the Mexican melodramas past and present that influenced it and you can see what they’re trying to do, but ultimately, it never settles on the right tone. There’s a bit where Bernal is smoking two cigarellos at once, and it just dies on screen. It’s a moment that feels like it’s meant to be a joke, like a fart sound (which makes this also feel a little like Nacho Libre), and the tonality of the project doesn’t feel right. It doesn’t feel authentic, nor does it feel like a straight satire. It lands in the middle between those two and doesn’t really work.
There are fun performers here, and Ferrell is fully committed to his character, which helps, and there are some side jokes that work well enough (the number of hot maids at the home, etc), but even Nick Offerman isn’t that funny in the film. There may be a great movie in mocking the purple passions of the Telenova film, but this isn’t it.
The film is presented in widescreen (2.35:1) and in DTS-HD master audio. Most of the film is in Spanish, so it feels like they missed a free joke by not having a dubbed in English version. The film comes with a commentary by Ferrell director Matt Piedmonet and writer/producer Andrew Steele, which I found slightly more entertaining that the film itself. The film comes with a making of (16 min.), ten deleted scenes (20 min.), a music video, three parody commercials, and an interview with Armendáriz Jr., who passed away after the film was shot.