CASA DE MI PADRE
MOVIE: *** (out of 5)
BLU-RAY EXPERIENCE: *** (out of 5)
BY KEVIN CARR
Back when “Casa de mi Padre” came out in the theaters, I was more impressed with the trailer rather than I was with the actual movie. This isn’t uncommon for theatrical releases nowadays. After all, when I drive to the theater, sometimes fighting crowds and half the time paying my own way because the studios don’t always screen films in my home town, I think I might be expecting too much. So when a movie is just so-so, it’s even more of a let-down with the hassle and expense of seeing it in its first run.
However, when it hits the home video market, I tend to be more forgiving. My experience with “Casa de mi Padre” resulted in this, with a midnight screening in a small-but-rowdy audience. It just didn’t pack the punch that I’d expect from, as the advertising says, “the gringos who brought you Anchorman.”
However, I felt I could absorb the film’s comedy and absurdity better on home video. In watching it a second time, I knew what to expect, which ultimately is an immersive SNL sketch brought to full feature length. However, this movie is more than just a single joke played for laughs. It’s not really a joke at all. It’s an idea, an essence of comedy. The players are so committed to the film that it actually plays like a poorly made Mexican film. The joke is… there is not joke necessarily.
The story puts Will Ferrell as the unlikely Mexican hero Armando Alverez, who has been working on his family’s farm since his brother went off to seek riches. When his brother returns with his beautiful fiancée, Armando discovers he is a notorious drug dealer, who brings a cartel war to the family’s doorstep.
“Casa de mi Padre” is an exercise in absurdity, playing awkwardness and hyperbole within a genre that thrives on such things. In fact, most of the gags are achieved by just emulating shoddy filmmaking and awkward acting moments.
The movie was made in the Spanish language, save for a few moments that involve a scene-stealing American DEA agent (played brilliantly by Nick Offerman), so it can be a bit of a chore to watch in the home video setting. (I do wish they had poorly dubbed English dialogue into the mix, just to continue the non-joke nature of the experience, but they apparently didn’t want to do that.) Still, as far as my naive, white American eyes can see, this movie comes closer to spoofing Mexican exploitation films than Robert Rodriguez’s “Machete” did.
It’s silly and dumb, but it did make me chuckle… a little more than it did when I first saw it in theaters.
The Blu-ray comes with an audio commentary with Will Ferrell, director Matt Piedmont and writer/producer Andrew Steele. There’s also an interview with actor Pedro Armendariz Jr., who passed away before the film was released. Additional features include 20 minutes of deleted scenes, a “making of” featurette, commercials and an equally absurd music video of “Fight for Love” featuring Will Ferrell and Genesis Rodriguez.