It’s all in the details with Matt Piedmont’s mock-telenovela, Casa de mi Padre. A handy glass of liquor in an all-out gun fight. A sudden cut to set of miniature toy cars. A decked-out mannequin in the back of a wedding party.
They’re easy to miss. But if you miss them, you kind of miss the point.
Will Ferrell stars as Armando Alvarez in this all-Spanish spoof, the son of Mexican ranch owner Miguel (Pedro Armendáriz Jr.) and brother to the brighter and more successful Raul (Diego Luna). Things go south when it’s revealed that Raul has entered the drug-trafficking business and brings home a new fiancée. Soon to follow are crooked cops, DEA agents, and a hilarious Gael García Bernal as Raul’s two-cigarettes-at-a-time, drug rival Onza.
Add in continuity errors, terrible effects, dramatic zoom shots and a host of gags you’d find in a typical SNL skit, and you’ve got the perfect, outlandish spoof. Except that this one wasn’t. You can’t blame a film for not being as stupid as you thought it might be. Not to say Casa de mi Padre was smart. But for a movie meant to be ridiculous, there weren’t too many laugh-out-loud moments. Several smirks and a few chuckles into it, I was glad the film was only 84 minutes long.
Ferrell takes his Spanish seriously, and Bernal and Luna’s characters are left to do most of the comedic heavy-lifting. Genesis Rodriguez holds her own among the boys and shines on screen as Sonia, the beautiful niece of Onza. (Seriously, she made me want to go buy bronzer right away.) But the stars of the film really were small tidbits in the background. Problem was there weren’t enough of them. Let’s just say I was muy happy my ticket was free courtesy of my Scene card. B-
Directed by Matt Piedmont. Starring Will Ferrell, Diego Luna, Gael García Bernal, Genesis Rodriguez, Pedro Armendáriz Jr. 84 minutes. 14A
By Jelena Djurkic
Dream cast: Helen Hunt, Kate Winslet, Jodie Foster and David Duchovny (but only if he gets to yell out “Scully!”)