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Casa de mi Padre

Casa de mi Padre

Released 8 June 2012
Director Matt Piedmont

Will Ferrell, Diego Luna, Pedro Armendáriz Jr, Genesis Rodriguez, Efren Ramirez, Adrian Martinez, Gael García Bernal
Writer(s) Andrew Steele

Emilio Diez Barroso, Jessica Elbaum, Will Ferrell, Darlene Caamano Loquet, Adam McKay, Kevin J. Messick
Origin United States
Running Time 84 minutes
Genre Comedy
Rating 16

Home run.

You have to hand it to Will Ferrell. Whatever criticism you could point at him, taking a safe career path isn’t one of them. While he could long ago have succumbed to playing the same character over and over again – or worse, starring in endless romantic comedies – Ferrell has mostly managed to keep his roles fresh and interesting.

Just look at Casa de Mi Padre. A simple synopsis of the film will no doubt leave many scratching their heads. A parody of Mexican cinema and daytime television, all in Spanish, with a host of Mexican talent in supporting roles and an American actor with a deliberately poor grasp of Spanish in the lead? This probably shouldn’t have worked, but somehow it does.

The clever script by Saturday Night Live writer Andrew Steele, treads the fine line between ridiculous visual humour and a more subtle wit. The plot of Casa de Mi Padre sees Ferrell play Armando Alvarez, an ignorant but lovable farmhand on a ranch on the just south of the US/Mexico border. When his brother (Diego Luna) returns to the family farm with a beautiful new bride and drug dealers on his tail (led by Gael García Bernal) Ferrell must step up and defend his home, even if everyone thinks he is a joke. The fact Ferrell is well suited to play such a dopey but loveable hero who takes himself way too seriously means that very little of the film’s comedy is lost in translation. Ferrell’s sheer dedication to the joke (he learned Spanish just for the role) is admirable, and because he never falters, Casa de Mi Padre rarely does either.

Added to this magnificent performance are the in your face slapstick moments that seem straight out of a Tarantino movie – obviously fake sets, deliberate continuity and editing errors, fake product placement and so on. It’s totally bonkers, and overall Casa de Mi Padre is silly and surreal, but in the best way. The fact that it was in Spanish and was clearly a reference to low budget Mexican cinema (which I know nothing about) was a bit jarring, but Ferrell’s wonderful performance along with plenty of visual humour means that the comedy can still shine through.

- Bernard O’Rourke