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Casa De Mi Padre - Review

Casa De Mi Padre

Review by Rob Carnevale

IndieLondon Rating: 3.5 out of 5

WILL Ferrell tries his hand at something a bit different with his Spanish speaking debut Casa De Mi Padre and succeeds in pulling off another comedy gem.

Devised initially as an homage to and parody of the melodrama inherent in countless Mexican telenovelas, the film also tips its sombrero to Ferrell’s trademark offbeat humour and the films of Sam Peckinpah.

But it is, at its core, an alternative comedy where the jokes fly thick and fast, whether from the lip or by virtue of the film’s innumerable visual gags (many of which play on the self consciously second rate production values).

Ferrell, speaking flawless Spanish throughout, stars as hapless cattle rancher Armando Alvarez, whose quiet lifestyle is given a wake up call by the return of his brother, Raul (Diego Luna) and his new fiancé Sonia (Genesis Rodriguez).

For Raul’s presence and shady drug dealings antagonise local gangster Onza (Gael Garcia Bernal), especially because he also has feelings for Sonia, and eventually force Armando to step up and take responsibility for his family’s future.

Although Matt Piedmont’s film does stretch the joke, even at 84 minutes, there’s still plenty to admire and laugh at in Casa De Mi Padre.

The nods to the telenovelas are nicely observed, the gags involving production shortcomings are genuinely amusing and there are enough funny moments throughout to appeal to Ferrell fans even if they’re initially put off by the idea of subtitles!

Ferrell, for his part, is forced to reign in some of his more obvious tendencies (improvisational skills included) but adapts well and remains funny (and believable in Spanish) but he’s given superb support by the likes of Bernal and Luna, clearly having a blast at being reunited as adversaries and afforded the chance to show off their comedy prowess.

Rodriguez, meanwhile, smoulders and should leave plenty of red blooded males hot under the collar!!

Piedmont, too, invests the film with enough in-jokes and references to keep true cinephiles busy, including two gloriously bloody nods to the slow motion shooting style of Peckinpah, while also ensuring the film retains an appeal for fans of offbeat comedy.

Hence, while not everything about the film works and it certainly won’t appeal to every taste, Casa De Mi Padre remains an ambitious and original treat for anyone seeking something a little bit different. It also marks another personal success for Ferrell.

In Spanish, with subtitles

Certificate: 15
Running time: 84mins
UK Release Date: June 8, 2012