¿Qué Bueno Es “Casa de mi Padre”?
I’ll give Casa de mi Padre this much credit: It makes the bold assumption that Will Ferrell’s fans would be willing to read subtitles. A Mexploitation spoof that’s performed almost entirely in Spanish (and Ferrell’s accent is pretty good, más or menos), this slight farce would like to be a combo platter of Blazing Saddles, Machete and Nacho Libre. But most of it is played with such a deadpan attitude that it just ends up feeling deadly.
Ferrell stars as Armando Alvarez, the misunderestimated son of a Mexican rancher who battles his unscrupulous brother (Diego Luna) to keep drug dealers off the family property—and for the heart of the muy bonita chica Sonia (Genesis Rodriguez). As the sole gringo in the cast, aside from Parks & Recreation‘s briefly amusing Nick Offerman as a DEA agent and Ferrell’s ex-SNL cohort Molly Shannon as a random relative, Ferrell is a fish out of agua, and most of the comedy, such as it is, comes from him being the proverbial Caucasian elephant in the room that no one’s acknowledging.
Yet this sticking-out-like-a-sore-thumb shtick quickly wears thin, unlike in Elf, when Ferrell tried and hilariously failed to fit in with the diminutive residents of the North Pole as well as the cynical denizens of New York City. The sparse laughs are mostly found around the margins of the movie, like in Christina Aguilera’s hysterically overheated opening-title song or the non sequitur cigarette commercial starring a grizzled Dan “Grizzly Adams” Haggerty that follows the closing credits.
One of the few running gags features Armando repeatedly floundering in his attempt to roll a handmade cigarette. In the end, Casa de mi Padre falls apart like one of those smokes: It’s wrapped too loosely, and as a result, it delivers zero buzz.
Were you loco for Casa de mi Padre? Abre tu boca y habla!