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August 1, 2012

Movie Review: Casa de mi Padre (2012, Blu-ray)

Directed by Andrew Steele

Starring Will Ferrell, Gael Garcia Bernal and Diego Luna

Armando Alvarez (Will Ferrell), is a simple man living a simple life on his fathers vast Mexican rancho. A complete disappointment to his father, he would rather be with the hired hands rounding up stray calves, as opposed to his brother who is out making a name for himself. When Armando’s brother Raul (Diego Luna) returns home with his bride-to-be, things start getting dicey as feelings between Armando and his brothers woman begin to heat up. As this is going on, a drug cartel is making its way onto the rancho, and Armando soon finds out the reason why- because his brother is actually a drug dealer who is challenging the cartel.  The love triangle and drama then turn to tragedy and it is up to Armando to bring honor back to his disgraced family and save the woman he loves from the clutches of the vicious Onza cartel.

This one was a pretty big stretch for Will Farrell and his writing partner Adam McKay. A comedy spoof on Mexican cinema, with Mexican actors, done completely in Spanish with English subtitles. Comedies with subtitles can be a tricky thing, and they usually work best with good physical, slap-stick style of comedy, as jokes don't quite have the same pop when your engaged reading the punch-lines off the bottom of the screen and forced to miss out on a lot of the actors facial expressions. As far as actually getting laughs goes, Casa de mi Padre had its moments but the jokes and gags were pretty much hit-and-miss. This one was set up in such a way that the entire cast plays Bud Abbott to Ferrell’s Lou Costello. In my opinion, Ferrell’s best films have been the ones where the supporting cast consists of plenty of off-beat characters to help keep the laugh-rhythm going smoothly. Ferrell basically takes on the entire comedy load here, and with a script that in all honesty wasn't that funny, it just felt like a missed opportunity. I'm sure this comes from knowing what Ferrell is capable of putting out there. With movies like Anchorman, Talladega Nights and Step Brothers to his credit, Ferrell has set his own bar pretty darn high, so anything less then a home run from him feels like a strike out to his fans.

Even as a sup-par Will Ferrell effort, its still a decent enough movie though. There was one scene I’d rate as solid gold ( The scene where Armando is being dragged off by the mighty white tiger and they used a stuffed animal and mannequin for the scene) and maybe three others that had me laughing out loud. The rest I couldn't muster more then a smile from though. The supporting cast of Mexican actors all did a great job with what they had to work with, it would have been cool if their characters had been a little more developed and they were allowed to partake in the comedy aspect a little more.

I do give this movie props for having the balls to be experimental and try something different, and I’d say its more goofy then funny overall, as often times the laughs came from the obviously fake landscapes and backgrounds used as well as many of the animals being played by stuffies. Its probably not something that's going to resonate with everybody out there, but there are laughs to be had here, as long as you don't mind waiting for them.

6 out of 10   Reviewed by KennyB

*Audio commentary with Will Ferrell, Matt Piedmont and Andrew Steele
*Pedro Armendariz Interview
*Deleted Scenes
*”Making Of” featurette
*Fight for Love music video
*Commercials (2 cigarette commercials and one cerveza commercial)

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