When Casa de mi Padre was first announced as an actual film that funny man Will Ferrell would star in, I almost couldn’t believe it. Sure, Ferrell has done his fair share of comedy, but never a full-blown Spanish language western. And never something this serious. Make no mistake, Casa de mi Padre is a comedy, but it’s also very much a more traditional Spanish western, full of showdowns, horse riding and the occasional cigarette rolling break. Casa de mi Padre shows a little bit more behind the crazy mind of Ferrell, letting us in on his appreciation for the genre. It’s not really a spoof movie; it’s more of a worthy entry in the genre, kind of like Hobo with a Shotgun.
Armando Alvarez (Will Ferrell) is a family rancher. He believes most in the beauty of nature and the respect and pride that comes with being a part of a family. When his brother Raul (Diego Luna) comes into town with a brand new girlfriend that their father instantly approves of, Armando begins to feel belittled and under-appreciated. Everyone he knows, minus his two best friends, calls him a coward and questions his sexual orientation because of the lack of a girlfriend and the lack of even trying to establish a relationship with anyone outside of the ranch. He’s a simple man with simple dreams and that satisfies him, until Raul’s smokin’ hot new lady Sonia (Genesis Rodriguez) starts explaining her story.
She brings up her troubled childhood and difficult escape from a previous life, only for Armando to reply simply saying, “interesting”, to anything she has to say. Armando doesn’t believe Sonia when she explains her reasoning for settling with Raul and he believes that she’s trying to shame the family’s name. He goes against everyone and attempts to stop Raul and Sonia from getting married.
What he doesn’t know is that Raul has been getting involved with drug dealers. His deals have now spread from America across the border into the homeland of Mexico, which sparks anger and disappointment into Armando’s caring heart. Raul steps into a big pile of trouble when another rivaled drug dealer tells him to take a walk or risk the consequences.
Casa de mi Padre quickly changes focus and becomes a revenge film, when Armando’s family is put in danger by this new threat. He transforms into the man that he was always meant to be, impressing not only his brother and father, but damn near everyone else in the film. He becomes a fearless warrior that only cares about love, passion and family. Blood is spilled as dozens of Mexican drug dealers get what’s coming to them via Armando Alvarez.
Casa de mi Padre is exactly what Ferrell repeats throughout the movie; interesting. It really is Ferrell’s most interesting work yet. It’s not a spoof comedy that constantly pokes fun at cheesy Spanish westerns, it fully becomes its own Spanish western. The dialogue is strictly Spanish, with English only coming in when it’s appropriate and Ferrell’s intentionally bad line delivery is guaranteed to keep you laughing. The film is also littered with poorly made sets, bad cuts and an entire scene that couldn’t be shown due to complications that arose during filmmaking that included coyotes, tigers and a shit ton of cocaine.
The film itself winks at the viewer every now and then with laughing dialogue pieces extending long past their welcome and one of the weirdest sex scenes since MacGruber, but most of the cast plays the film entirely with a straight face. Will Ferrell is the star of the show and he oddly enough respects the genre. Everything that works in the film works so well because of Ferrell’s ability to keep a straight face and to keep the jokes coming at just the right moment. Everything is calculated to ensure the maximum amount of laughter for the particular scene.
I believe most will find Casa de mi Padre to be too much of a weird thing. It’s not a comedy in the simple sense of jokes flying off the screen left in right. There’s a lot to enjoy and laugh about in the film, but it’s so damn weird. I never really watched the films that Casa de mi Padre pays homage to, so I can’t fully comment on the authenticity, but there’s more than enough to make for an entertaining hour and a half experience. Just please, do not go in expecting Anchorman humor or Step Brothers shtick. You’ll be sorely disappointed. Go in expecting something like Hobo with a Shotgun and possibly a hint of Grindhouse and Black Dynamite.
Casa de mi Padre goes beyond making fun of a genre and fully becomes a film of the genre. It’s a slow-building comedy that leads to an old-school revenge western. I can see it becoming a classic on home video, but I fear that the theater audiences will walk away mostly disappointed. I walked in expecting something funnier and more mainstream, but I left the theater not disappointed, but surprised with what I just saw. It’s something that you’ll either like or hate within 10 minutes. I enjoyed the film, but I didn’t laugh as nearly as much as I thought I would. That being said, I think having my expectations gauged at the right level will reward me with an even better experience the next time I check it out, which will be very soon.
Casa de mi Padre – 7.5/10