Synopsis: Spanish language parody of low budget Mexican movies. 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.
Saturday Night Live has spun out it’s fair share of sketches into movies over the years. Some great (Wayne’s World, Night At The Roxbury) and some not so great (The Ladies Man). Casa de mi Padre isn’t an SNL movie, but it certainly feels like it could have been. Mainly because it feels like a 5 minute sketch parody of terrible Mexican soaps/movies that was stretched out to cover 90 minutes. And unfortunately, while it has some moments, they don’t make a movie.
Will Ferrell got to a stage about six years ago where he seemed to say “hell with it, I made so much money I’m just gonna do whatever I find fun and if anyone likes it then good for them”. This attitude seems to have carried over into his movie choices and his free time, whether it is playing tennis with Andy Murray at the US Open or announcing the players at the New Orleans Hornets.
Casa de mi Padre follows in his latest line of “shit yeah I’ll give that a go” choices. Almost entirely spoken in Spanish, it plays as a parody of low budget Mexican soap operas. Complete with fake horses, puppet mountain lions, terrible product placement for Canadian cigarettes and chip-board backgrounds, Ferrell & Co obviously had a lot of fun making it. The main problem is it just isn’t funny enough to last 90 minutes.
While the idea of the gimmick being Will Ferrell doing the whole thing in Spanish, something which is actually highly impressive, may have worked in the writers room, comedy doesn’t translate well to subtitles. You miss a lot of the visual humour because you’re so busy reading. Plus, to be honest, I am kind of done with Ferrell. I used to love his stuff but I am bored of watching his same shtick over and over again. He is a great actor who does dialled down and sad really well. I want to see more of that. More Stranger Than Fiction and less Land of the Lost please Senor Ferrell.
The supporting cast are ok but everyone just gets lost in the gimmick. Gael Garcia Bernal has some great comic timing and newcomer Genesis Rodriquez does well as the love interest. But they are all second fiddle to Ferrell and the bad sets.
There’s definitely a lot of humour to be found in riffing on the terrible soaps of old, but as Brit I have already seen this done much better by Victoria Wood 20 years ago with Acorn Antiques. It was less on the nose than Casa de mi Padre (the scene explaining the cocaine riddled tigers felt out of place, even if it was pretty funny) while still being very funny. I would spend 30 minutes watching all the episodes of Acorn Antiques on YouTube rather than watching Casa de mi Padre. Here, I’ve even added the first episode below. Enjoy.
Verdict: 5/10 – Watch at your own discretion
Taglines: Funniest movie you’ll ever read (meh…)
Director: Matt Piedmont – Former SNL writer who worked a lot with Will Ferrell. Casa de mi Padre definitely has the feeling of a Saturday Night Live sketch that worked and then they tried to stretch over 90 minutes. Although as far as I am aware this didn’t originate from SNL
Writers: Andrew Steele – As above, did most of his work on SNL and wrote spin-off The Ladies Man.
Cast: Will Ferrell, Diego Luna, Gael Garcia Bernal, Genesis Rogriguez, Efren Ramirez, Nick Offerman
- Will Ferrell spent a month learning and speaking Spanish with a dialect coach for his role
- The opening voice-over by Kris Kristofferson, “If it sounds Spanish, man, that’s what it is; it’s a Spanish movie,” echoes the spoken opening of his version of “Me and Bobby McGee,” which he wrote in 1970: “If it sounds country, man, that’s what it is; it’s a country song.”
- The singer at the wedding scene is actually ‘Genesis Rodriguez”s real life father, ‘Jose Luis Rodriguez ‘El Puma”.
Top TV Connections
- Nick Offerman (Ron “Fucking” Swanson on Parks & Recreation) as DEA Agent
Streaming on LoveFilm/Amazon Prime