Streaming Video Movie Review: CASA DE MI PADRE (2012)
By Michael Arruda
I get it
Will Ferrell has made so many movies and has achieved so much success, he’s at the point in his career where he can do whatever he wants, like making movies that are experimental and offbeat, and stand little chance of making money at the box office.
I get it. But that doesn’t mean I liked CASA DE MI PADRE, a movie that is indeed offbeat—it’s in Spanish with English subtitles— yet isn’t all that funny, nor is it much of an action movie. Don’t get me wrong. I like the idea of a quirky movie, but it’s got to work. This movie doesn’t work.
In CASA DE MI PADRE (2012), now available on Streaming Video, Armando (Will Ferrell) is the black sheep of his family. His father Miguel (Pedro Armendariz, Jr.) is always calling him stupid, and while he does work on his father’s ranch, we see him spending his days hanging around with his buddies. When his brother Raul (Diego Luna) returns home with his beautiful fiancée Sonia (Genesis Rodriguez), he’s welcomed with open arms by his father, but it turns out Raul is really a drug dealer who’s at war with the local drug lord, Onza (Gael Garcia Bernal), who happens to be Sonia’s uncle.
Onza’s goons shoot up Raul’s and Sonia’s wedding, creating a bloodbath in the one stylish scene in the movie, leaving Armando to seek vengeance against Onza and to save his family’s honor
I kept waiting for CASA DE MI PADRE to be funny. I’m still waiting.
I don’t think I laughed once, and that’s no joke. Not a good sign for a comedy. Sure, it’s possible I could have missed the point. I could have missed the good intentions of what Ferrell and company were trying to do here. I’ll admit that. Then again, CASA DE MI PADRE just might be a bad movie.
Ferrell plays it straight here. Even though his character Armando is supposed to be a simpleton, he’s really not. He’s no goofy idiot bumbling his way through situations a la a Mexican Inspector Clouseau. He’s supposed to be an honorable man with a touch of spiritualism, a hero. Gag.
I suppose the joke is that it’s Will Ferrell and he’s playing it straight in a Mexican action movie. I suppose this is supposed to be funny. So, if you’re into seeing a serious Ferrell play a Mexican farmer battling a Mexican drug lord, and you think that’s humorous, then this might be the movie for you.
For a comedy, the jokes just aren’t there. The screenplay by Andrew Steele is about as funny as Taco Bell ad. I’ll take that back. I’ve seen funnier Taco Bell ads. In all fairness, I’d guess that the screenplay accomplishes what the writer and director and Ferrell wanted it to accomplish. There doesn’t seem to be much effort or interest in creating a straight comedy
Instead, the interest seems to be in creating an authentic Mexican action movie, and to get laughs simply through weird scenes and offbeat dialogue, as in, let’s have Ferrell deliver these serious lines with a straight face, and won’t this be funny!
Here’s my answer: no.
Director Matt Piedmont hasn’t made much of an action movie either. There’s one decent action scene, the bloodbath at the wedding, but that’s it. The rest of the action is incredibly flat. So, without comedy, without action, you’re left with a Spanish language drama starring Will Ferrell, the type of thing you’d catch on your local Spanish language TV channel.
Genesis Rodriguez is drop dead gorgeous and in all seriousness is the only reason to see this movie. But do you really want to sit through 90 minutes of CASA DE MI PADRE just to see Rodriguez? Heck, even her nude love scene is ruined by frequent shots of Will Ferrell’s naked butt. Yes, sadly, you will see more of Ferrell’s naked butt than Rodriguez’s. What were the filmmakers thinking?
I honestly felt as if the joke was on the audience. Let’s make this as unfunny as possible and see what people say about it. It’s as if they wanted to see our faces and laugh.
There are also some weird spiritual aspects to the story, including a talking mountain lion, which is so fake looking it makes the TWILIGHT werewolves look good! It looks like a Muppet reject. This lion talks to Ferrell and raises him from the dead. Huh? You know, maybe if you’ve had a few drinks before you see this one—.
There’s also some goofy songs sung by Ferrell and Rodriguez, but these miss the mark as well
In fact, the whole film misses the mark. It’s so bad, I wish I hadn’t seen it
I chose to review CASA DE MI PADRE because it was an R-rated comedy, something we review regularly here at Cinema Knife Fight. It’s about as far removed from traditional R-rated comedies as you can get. It’s rated R because of its one nude scene (hey, is that still Will Ferrell’s butt? Somebody make it stop!) There’s also that one bloody scene at the wedding, but that’s about it folks. The rest of the movie is hopelessly lame.
But didn’t I like the quirkiness of the whole thing? The deadpan style of Will Ferrell? His goofy buddies? About those buddies— when the funniest thing they do is laugh, you know you’re in trouble. Again, I felt as if they were laughing at the audience. Yep, the joke is on us.
Didn’t I like the scene with the severed hand? You mean the hand that looked like it was bought from Toys R Us? But wasn’t that funny? That it looked fake? No.
Didn’t I like the strange camera angles? The weird props? The fake-looking mountain lion? The mannequin? You mean, the stuff that looked like it belonged in a Pee Wee Herman movie? You know, I might have, if Pee Wee Herman had been around, but sadly, he’s not.
This is all a roundabout way of saying what you already know, that this movie simply didn’t work for me, not on any level.
As a result, I give CASA DE MI PADRE a whopping 0 Knives.
Don’t waste your time on this one. Save yourself the torture and have a Dos Equis instead.
© Copyright 2013 by Michael Arruda
Michael Arruda gives CASA DE MI PADRE – ZERO KNIVES!