Thursday, October 4, 2012

Casa De Mi Padre - QC Review

Will Ferrell plays Armando Alvarez, a simple Mexican rancher....uh huh.

Directed by: Matt Piedmont
Starring: Will Ferrell, Genesis Rodriguez, Diego Luna and Gael Garcia Bernal
Rated: R  
Runtime: 1 hour 24 minutes
Release Date: March 16, 2012

Will Ferrell is the master of the absurd, the king of the crazy and the lord of the nonsensical. No other comedian working today can hit those highs like he does but the same can be said for the lows as well. His films are generally hit or miss, his misses often being odd curiosities that are forgotten rather quickly (Blades of Glory, Semi-Pro) and his hits becoming instant cult comedy classics (Anchorman, Step Brothers). He has also made a handful of legitimately good films (Stranger Than Fiction, Everything Must Go), but until now he has never made a film that can be considered a hit, miss and a legitimately good film all wrapped up into one. Well, maybe that good film part is stretching it a bit in this case.

Confused? Well, that's exactly the type of feeling you will have when watching his latest venture into the absurd entitled, "Casa De Mi Padre", a film about a two estranged brothers, a conflicted father, a beautiful woman who loves two men, a drug lord who will stop at nothing to rule the land and Will Ferrell speaking Spanish...the whole time. Modeled off those cheesy (are there any other kind?) Spanish soap operas called Telenovellas (or just Novellas for short), Will Ferrell and director Matt Piedmont have wrangled up a cadre of talented Hispanic actors to populate this spoof, homage, loving tribute (who knows what it is) to those melodramatic pieces of fluff.

Their love is forbidden, yet they can't help themselves.

You name it, this thing has it. Romance, comedy, action, drama, fake backdrops, toy cars in place of real cars, stuffed animals, a James Bond-esque style opening credit sequence featuring a surprisingly awesome song, riding along the countryside on obvious mechanical horses, uncomfortably extended shots of Ferrell's bare ass cheeks and the trademark absurdity complemented by everyone playing it straight. The best trick of all though comes in the form of Will Ferrell miraculously pulling off the ability to speak Spanish for the entire length of the film. Oh, that's right, this thing is subtitled...seriously, it is.

Nobody embraces the absurd like Ferrell does and this has to be the pinnacle of his career in that category thus far. It's succeeds at being completely ridiculous and being dead serious. It's only real failure is that its appeal will be limited to only the die hard Will Ferrell fans and possibly anyone that finds Spanish melodrama intriguing.  Casting the likes of acclaimed Hispanic actors such as Gael Garcia Bernal, Diego Luna, Pedro Armendariz Jr. and newcomer Genesis Rodriguez, Ferrell and company have constructed this bizarre hybrid of a spoof comedy and Spanish familial drama. There really is no way to explain the contents of this film without sounding like a crazy person. Did they make this because they love Novellas? Did they make it because they love Spanish cinema? Did they make it because of the absurdity involved with putting Will Ferrell in a foreign soap opera as the romantic lead? Either way, you are best off just accepting it for what it is and leaving it at that.

For every impressive cinematic landscape there is an equally unimpressive (and obvious) cardboard background. For every romantic kiss there is a hairy ass. For every ounce of credibility that is generated by the first rate cast and appropriately sub-par set dressing there is Will Ferrell speaking Spanish and doing it well but still coming off as completely ludicrous. If you haven't guessed by now, this is a very strange, bizarre, ridiculous, absurd and yet somehow brilliant little movie that will only ever appeal to about less than one percent of the population and only the most rabid fans of Will Ferrell who appreciate his bold attempts at creating something that doesn't make a lick of sense. If any of that sounds good to you, then by all means check it out, otherwise you would be best served steering clear of this one.

Armando rescues his true love...after a big white stuffed cat tells him to do it.




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