Starring: Will Ferrell, Diego Luna, Gael García Bernal
Director: Matt Piedmont
Running Time: 85 mins
Casa De Mi Padre is an American film about an honest Mexican rancher who discovers his brother is a major drug dealer, with the family soon becoming embroiled in a major fight with the country’s most powerful gang.
Generic, predictable and painfully stupid throughout, there are barely any redeeming qualities about Casa De Mi Padre. Lacking energy and pace at every moment, it’s a stale and awkward affair throughout, worsened by unnecessary and unfunny violence, as well as consistently poor comedy.
But, as bad as this film can be at times, there are two things about it that I absolutely loved. Above all: it’s all in Spanish. It might not seem like much of an achievement, but to put out a low-brow Hollywood comedy with subtitles is really quite a bold idea, and it’s great to see that the film commits to it all the way through.
Also, Casa De Mi Padre does have a pleasing bit of tongue-in-cheek humour as it parodies classic serials and Mexican cinema. Blending tropes of low-budget cinema, 1930s adventure serials, classic Mexican films and spaghetti westerns, the movie entertains with enjoyably low-budget sets, hyper-stylised camerawork and a deliberately ridiculous screenplay.
So, as a pure parody movie, there are times when Casa De Mi Padre works surprisingly well. But as a comedy, it’s an out-and-out failure. Never sparking a genuine laugh all the way through, the jokes are consistently dull, predictable and ultimately painful to sit through.
Will Ferrell, although doing a good job with the Spanish-language dialogue, is far below his best in this film. Similar to the overarching atmosphere of the movie, Ferrell lacks energy and excitement, often overplaying his deliberately awkward Spanish speech to the detriment of any real humour on the part of his character.
And that’s a frustrating thing that seems to run through the whole movie. Casa De Mi Padre deserves plaudits for sticking with the Spanish dialogue all the way through, but the film seems to hide behind that fact, trying to disguise terrible dialogue, poor comedy and a lack of ideas under the cover of foreign-language dialogue.
Sadly, it’s a plot that doesn’t work for the film, and its unoriginality and frankly lifeless screenplay is quickly exposed, making for a dull watch right to the finish. The plot is nonsensical, there’s no consistency whatsoever in the film’s pacing, and its few attempts to establish character depth and/or emotional intrigue are woeful at best.
In short, Casa De Mi Padre is a terrible film all around. Despite a bold intention with its Spanish dialogue, as well as brief glimpses of comedy in the form of genre parodies throughout, the movie is painfully dull and entirely unfunny throughout.
Lacking ideas in every regard, the movie tries to hide behind its foreign-language dialogue to no avail, instead struggling along with an ailing and painfully nonsensical plot to the finish. So that’s why I’m giving Casa De Mi Padre a 5.0 overall.