The Good: Concept, One or two laughs
The Bad: Too closely mimics the subject matter to be a true parody.
The Basics: Failing to make a commentary on the Mexican melodramas, Will Ferrell’s Casa De Mi Padre merely becomes another terrible melodrama from south of the border.
The best parodies are clever because they find ways to lampoon their subject matter by using the conceits of the parodied work to put it to shame. The dangers of the parody are that the material is not strong enough to provide enough material for lampooning and thus that parody has to fill with non sequitor jokes that have nothing at all to do with the parodied work – the second Family Guy Star Wars parody, Something Something Something Dark Side (reviewed here!) fell into this problem – or that the parody will simply become the very thing it seeks to mock. It is a fine line and it is a tough one to balance upon, but sometimes, a work very clearly falls one way or the other. In the case of Casa De Mi Padre, one of the latest Will Ferrell vehicles, the film is simply not funny enough to actually lampoon the low-budget Mexican melodramas it attempts to and, instead, it becomes one.
In the tradition of terrible Mexican dramas, Casa De Mi Padre includes obvious set paintings, fake animals, terrible editing, and a strong story about a family torn apart by corruption and the shared love of a woman. Unfortunately, outside of two or three silly lines and the recurring gag where Armando and his two friends laugh unrealistically long over very minor jokes, Casa De Mi Padre does not adequately comment upon, mock, or truly satirize Mexican melodramas. Instead, despite the attempts at humor, Andrew Steele does not make it funny enough and Casa De Mi Padre falls very flat.
Armando is racing home with his two friends when they witness a murder: drug dealers killing a man on the outskirts of their land. Returning to the house, Armando meets with his father, who is deeply disappointed with him. They celebrate the return of Raul, who comes to the house with Sonia, his new love. They want the father’s blessing, which they receive, but Armando is suspicious of Sonia.
Sonia does not commit to loving Raul, as she is intrigued by Armando. Sonia is on the run from her uncle and Raul has gotten deep into the drug business with the nefarious Onza. As Sonia’s backstory and Armando’s backstory – pertaining to the death of his mother – intersect, they fall for one another and work to destroy the cartel.
Complete with subtitles, Casa De Mi Padre is weird and purposely cheesy. Will Farrell acts purposely melodramatic, but most of the other performers – most notably Diego Luna (Raul), Gael Garcia Bernal (Onza), and Genesis Rodriguez (Sonia) – play their roles in such a way that they feel and look like they came right out of a Mexican drama. In a similar way, none of the characters actually pop with originality or real development. They aren’t supposed to, though; that’s part of the joke.
Unfortunately, the joke is not a very sophisticated or complicated one. Low-budget films are frequently bad, be they American, Mexican, Japanese, whatever. Casa De Mi Padre just makes a more expensive, purposely bad film. That does not make it clever or good.
Casa De Mi Padre is not painful to watch, which is all that saves it from the worst ratings. The lowest ratings are reserved not just for the mundane or boring, but the films it aches one to sit through. Casa De Mi Padre is not that, but it is not much better.
For other works with Will Ferrell, please be sure to check out my reviews of:
Everything Must Go
The Other Guys
The Goods: Live Hard, Sell Hard
Land Of The Lost
You're Welcome America: A Final Night With George W. Bush
Stranger Than Fiction
Talladega Nights: The Ballad Of Ricky Bobby
Anchorman: The Legend Of Ron Burgundy
Family Guy - Season 4
Jay And Silent Bob Strike Back
For other movie reviews, please check out my Movie Review Index Page for an organized listing!
© 2012 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.
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