Casa de mi Padre opens with a disclaimer; ‘if it sounds Spanish, that’s because it is’… and it’s not lying. Will Ferrell, a man new to the language, speaks it fluently throughout the film’s 84 minute run time.
Both the film and its storyline riff upon Mexican melodramas; here hugely likeable simpleton Armando (Ferrell), a man who can’t roll a cigarette, is belittled when his prodigal brother Raul returns home to the outrageous applause of their father. With Raul is his fiancé Sonia (Genesis Rodriguez), a woman who isn’t as innocent as she seems. With drugs lords carrying out their business on the family’s ranch, Armando soon learns that his brother is more involved than he could have ever imagined.
As expected of such a film, Casa de mi Padre‘s comedy comes from its mock drama and ridiculous storyline. The stylish titles (including Christina Aguilera belting out the film’s theme) belie the poor and tacky production of the film. Not that the production values counter the enjoyment of Casa de mi Padre, in fact they often provide the funniest moments. Overly dramatic and badly put together, the film encompasses beautiful women, fake animals and cardboard backdrops. The cameramen are often visible in the prolonged close-ups on characters as they look off into the distance.
Whilst the laughs are frequent, Casa de mi Padre soon begins to feel stilted, with the comedy soon falling away from the story itself. Although it does well as a mickey-take the humour relies upon the poor production values of the film and not the dialogue; the film sometimes feels like it isn’t sure how to fit in all of its fun ideas into an actual script. This said, the prolonged laughter scenes are fun as are the occasional interruptions from the director and crew. The cast burst into song from time to time (Armando and Sonia’s La la la song thankfully having subtitles) and it help to save the flagging script.
Prepare yourself for some prolonged exposure to Will Ferrell’s bum in Casa de mi Padre, a fun, if a little confused, trip to Mehico!