Releasing Casa de mi Padre in theatres was a gamble. Take Will Ferrell and place him in the middle of a supremely melodramatic telenovela. His nonsensical brand of humor subtitled. Indeed, a very interesting gamble. Perhaps even the biggest of Ferrell’s career. Led by Ferrell’s squint-eyed look of serious determination in spite of the ridiculousness of his surroundings, Casa de mi Padre benefits from being so far out in left field that it doesn’t have to sell its soul to please middle-of-the-road filmgoers.
Written by Andrew Steele, the film is as ridiculous and as outrageous as the Latin America soap operas it is patterned after. Armondo Alvarez (Ferrell), a simple-minded rancher, knows nothing beyond his father’s land. His mother was killed when he was young and something in that has stunted his growth. He has desires, but certainly behaves as if he hasn’t got a clue. Typical Ferrell behavior, right? Wrong. This time Ferrell tackles his usual shtick with a foreign tongue. Complete Español, and it absolutely works.
When his brother Raul (Diego Luna) returns home with his new fiancée (Genesis Rodriguez) Armondo discovers the dangers of the drug trade. A rival cartel – led by the Onza (Gael Garcia Bernal) - wants their ranch, their family dead, and wants Raul/Armondo’s girl for himself. Armondo must reach deep within and discover the strength to defend his family’s honor.
Yes, it’s purposely simple and melodramatic. All the actors know how to stretch this material for dramatic purposes in order to flip it on its lid and garner a chuckle. Even the violence is over-the-top. Director Matt Piedmont shoots this film to be completely self-aware and, in doing so, makes room for jokes to be found within set designs, continuity errors, and costumes. Sometimes, the best jokes Casa de me Padre has to offer come from this willingness to visually poke fun at the soap opera formula.
Piedmont uses real locations and mixes them with shots of obvious sets – Armondo watches someone get shot and hides behind a fake rock - throughout the movie. From fake scenery to an animatronic white cougar that speaks, he loads the film with acid-trip goofiness that is spread out enough to not be overwhelming. In an early scene, Ferrell and Rodriguez ride horses – long shots prove this (stunt riders or otherwise) – but the close-ups of the actors are obviously fake and, to push the laughter, they actually race each other on these wheel-bound “horses” to the next location. Hilarious.
Casa de mi Padre is a low-budget affair and, as it roots can be traced to the comedic anarchy of Ferrell and Adam McKay’s Funny or Die website, audiences shouldn’t expect a top of the line product. That’s part of the joke; ragged in spirit, yet fun to watch. It’s gloriously shot on a limited budget (note the use of slow motion) and, at times, slips into the very formula it is spoofing without poking fun at it. Piedmont (an SNL behind-the-scenes graduate) proves that he’s got a great eye for punchy visuals and cinematic flair even if this is parody.
Casa de mi Padre isn’t the most brilliant thing to ever grace the blu-ray market as far as comedy is concerned. Its moments are strong and there are a few moments of pause. Ferrell’s comedic chops (and ass) are on display throughout most of this and – with an extended sex scene in which his partner has been replaced by a mannequin – it’s “anything goes” spirit matches the ridiculousness of a telenovela perfectly. Much like Three Amigos, with repeat viewings, this film can only get funnier.
MPAA Rating: R for bloody violence, language, some sexual content and drug use.
Director: Matt Piedmont
Writer: Andrew Steele
Cast: Will Ferrell; Diego Luna; Pedro Armendáriz Jr.; Genesis Rodriguez; Efren Ramirez; Adrian Martinez
Tagline: Funniest movie you'll ever read.
Memorable Movie Quote: "It's going to get very bad."
Distributor: Pantelion Films
Official Site: www.casademipadremovie.com
Release Date: March 16, 2012
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date: July 17, 2012
Synopsis: Scheming on a way to save their father's ranch, the Alvarez brothers find themselves in a war with Mexico's most feared drug lord.
English SDH, French, Spanish (less)
English SDH, French, Spanish, Portuguese, German SDH (less)
Available on Blu-ray - July 17, 2012
Screen Formats: 2.40:1
Subtitles: English, English SDH, Spanish
Audio: Spanish: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1
Discs: 50GB Blu-ray Disc; Single disc (1 BD)
Playback: Region A reviewed
Lionsgate Films presents this AVC encoded 1080p transfer in a 2.35:1 ratio. As if dipped in honey, there is an intentional golden hue throughout the film. Saturated colors permeate the film and everything looks slightly aged to keep with the spirit of its low-budget. As a result, some fine detail gets lost. Again, this was the filmmaker’s choice and not a flaw in the transfer itself. Don’t go back to the store if you can’t pick out the fibers in the clothing. The visual “hiccups” are there on purpose. The lossless DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 audio mix (in Spanish) won’t give your sound system a taxing workout, but it does serve the needs of the film. Musical interludes (because they do break out in song) sound great and the gunplay – there are two dynamic shootouts – hit the bass levels appropriately.
- I’m sorry, but the audio commentary - provided by director Matt Piedmont, writer Andrew Steele and actor Will Ferrell - is funnier than the movie. It really is. They don’t so much talk about the technical shoot, but they will make you laugh yourself silly with reactions to the film.
There’s a bit of a drop here. The quality of the supplemental material isn’t going to entertain everyone. Maybe diehard fans of Ferrell will get their kicks out of watching him pick up a calf in The Making of ‘Casa de me Padre’, but others will be more interested in what the supporting cast has to say about the shoot. There are 20 minutes of deleted scenes – both funny and not – that showcase the improvisational chops of the actors, but may not – for some – be worth the dig. The Fight for Love music video – performed by Ferrell and Rodriguez is included and as the final interview with actor Pedro Armendáriz, Jr who died late last year. Best featurette? The fake commercials for the fake products pimped by the film.
- The Making of ‘Casa de Mi Padre’ (16 min)
- Deleted Scenes (20 min)
- Fight For Love Music Video (3 min)
- Comerciales (3 min)
- Pedro Armendáriz, Jr. Final Interview (4 min)