Casa de mi Padre
Will Ferrell's first foray into Spanish-language comedy is at once unfunny and too silly to take seriously
Funnyman Will Ferrell as a tough rancher in a violent Spanish-language Western? It could only be a joke, and that’s exactly what Casa de mi Padre is, a ragged, silly spoof in the Airplane/Naked Gun mode. Unfortunately, as jokes go, it’s a not particularly funny one, chiefly due to the likelihood that few viewers will have any notions of the genre Ferrell is supposedly spoofing.
Seeking to add to his deadpan comic successes in Anchorman, Talladega Nights and Blades of Glory, Ferrell reportedly spent a month learning Spanish to play Armando, a simple-minded Mexican rancher whose brother Raul (Diego Luna) disrupts their family life when he arrives home with sultry new bride Sonia (Genesis Rodriguez). Plans for a wedding are ruined, not only by Armando’s growing infatuation with Sonia, but through the violent intervention of Raul’s ruthless boss, drug-cartel boss Onza (Gael Garcia Bernal), a man so tough he smokes two cigarettes at once.
Sam Peckinpah-levels of bloodshed result, but Casa de mi Padre is less a spoof of action movies than an homage to the kind of over-heated soap-opera that might be glimpsed on a local television station while on holiday. TV director Matt Piedmont cheerfully attempts to evoke magic realism with cheap theatrical effects, including the stuffed tigers representing the wild spirit of the countryside, but such arch observations never make up for the lack of actual jokes, ensuring that tumbleweed blows through his film at regular intervals.
Too silly to take seriously, but without the comic set pieces required to raise laughs, Casa de mi Padre is a disappointing oddity that never makes the grade, despite the grimacing efforts of an overqualified cast. Next time Ferrell ventures south of the border, he might want to take a gag-writer with him.
General release from Fri 8 June.