DVD Review: Casa de mi Padre

Like many in the UK we were eager to see Will Ferrell’s full Spanish-language feature, Casa de mi Padre, which sadly never received a cinema release here. But alas for it has found a home on DVD and will be with us on the 1st of October. Directed by Matt Piedmont (Funny Or Die Presents…) and featuring the American funnyman alongside a host of much loved Mexican stars (Gael Garcia Bernal, Diego Luna & Pedro Armendáriz Jr. being but a few), Casa de mi Padre is perhaps the most interesting comedy of the year.

Casa de mi Padre follows The Alvarez Brothers (Ferrell & Luna) as they attempt to save their father’s failing ranch. However, they soon find themselves at war with a twisted drug lord, Onza (Bernal) and their family loyalties challenged.

Fusing elements of classic Spanish telenovas and low-budget soap operas with a madcap SNL style of comedy – Casa de mi Padre strikes a winning formula. The carefully crafted atmosphere of Piedmont’s debut feature makes it feel  like it could be an oddball Spanish feature, that you may have stumbled upon on whilst channel hopping – from the sun-soaked rural countryside to marble fitted drug lord palaces – Casa de mi Padre, feels highly authentic. Not to forget the Ennio Morricone-esque score and belting Spanish title track sang by Christina Aguilera.

The fact that this backdrop is so convincing is part of the reason that the comedy works so well – this feels like it should be a low-budget Spanish western, not a zany Will Ferrell comedy, therefore the end result feels hugely original and often incredibly funny. From Ferrell’s over the top line readings to Casa de mi Padre’s own embrace of its budget issues (one sequence sees Ferrell and Genesis Rodriguez riding fake horses, whilst another sees Ferrell confronted by a hilarious animatronic white lion – which is likely to leave you laughing out loud) it always remains completely watchable.

Ferrell remains completely amusing in Spanish – managing to evoke laughs from his mannerisms, looks and phrasings, proving to be hilarious in any language, Unfortunately, the humour may not be as fast and frequent as previous Ferrell features, but when it does feature, it is of a consistently high standard. Writer, Andrew Steele (SNL) fills his script full of Western homages as well as several loving glances to classic soap operas and grindhouse features – one sequence which sees a shoot out at a wedding almost plays like a fusion of Dynasty and The Godfather.  

Charismatic supporting turns from icons of Mexican cinema including Gael Garcia Bernal, Diego Luna and Pedro Armendáriz Jr. keep things fresh when Ferrell is off screen. Bernal is particularly entertaining to watch as scheming drug lord, Onza. Genesis Rodriguez and Nick Offerman also feature, both giving pitch-perfect comic supporting turns.

Casa de mi Padre is a highly enjoyable sidestep in the career of Will Ferrell, proving the star can be hilarious in any language. The humour mostly works with the fusion of soap opera and grindhouse homages combining well with a more zany SNL style – resulting in a highly original feature.

RATING: 3.5/5

You can order Casa de mi Padre from Amazon.

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