Saturday, December 08, 2012

Penny Thoughts ‘12—Casa de mi Padre (2012) ***

R, 84 min.
Director: Matt Piedmont
Writer: Andrew Steele
Starring: Will Ferrell, Diego Luna, Pedro Armendáriz Jr., Genesis Rodriguez, Efren Ramirez, Adrian Martinez, Gael García Bernal, Manuel Urrego, Nick Offerman

“Casa de mi Padre” has a lot to overcome, but if you’re willing to help it along, it’s a rewarding western spoof. The main hurdle is that it is a Will Ferrell comedy that is entirely in Spanish. Yes, it’s a foreign language film starring Will Ferrell. Nick Offerman, from “Parks and Recreation”, speaks English as an American DEA agent, but that’s about it for English speaking parts.

I think it would be easy to get stuck on the premise of the film. Why would Will Ferrell want to do a Spanish language spoof? But, does that really matter? Get over yourself and commit to reading some subtitles for once. The movie is funny. It’s very much in the vein of most of Ferrell’s comedy; you just need the ability to read to get all the jokes. Unless of course, you speak Spanish. Then you can ignore the subtitles.

The plot is pretty simplistic, as most spoofs are. Ferrell plays the son of a modern day Mexican cattle rancher. His father isn’t afraid to let him know that his brother, who has left the farm for the modern world, is his favorite. Ferrell is a typical Ferrell character, so it’s not hard to understand why the father didn’t pick him. His brother, however, has become a big time drug smuggler. One of his enemies has taken his drug trade to the land where his family lives and so he returns as a prodigal son.

That’s really about all you need to know. The movie has great fun with western genre traditions. There are a great deal of background jokes and more subtle material that you might miss if you aren’t paying attention. If it doesn’t work for you at first, a second screening could be beneficial. You really can’t say that about most comedies. I had fun watching this spoof. It isn’t a classic, but it gets the job done.

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