Title: Casa de mi Padre
Director: Matt Piedmont
Writer: Andrew Steele
Stars: Will Ferrell, Gael García Bernal, Diego Luna
Runtime: 84 min
The Alvarez brothers need to save their father's ranch from financial ruin. Armando Alvarez (Will Ferrell) has lived and worked on the ranch in Mexico since he was a child, but unfortunately it’s his younger brother Raul (Diego Luna) that got all the brains in this family.
To make things even worse, Armando witnesses a murder and unintentionally gets involved in a war with a fearsome drug lord Onza (Gael Garcia Bernal). Then Raul arrives to help and it seems that everything will be ok. He has even brought with him his new smoking hot fiancé, Sonia (Genesis Rodriguez). All the financial troubles seem to be over as he has a vest fortune from his work as an ‘international businessman’. But things get even more complicated when Armando falls in love with Sonia and then Raul himself is exposed as a crook.
Casa de mi Padre is the first all Spanish speaking role for Will Ferrell and he speaks the language as if he were a native. His trademark charisma and comic timing do not let him down and he is brilliantly supported by the ever likable pair, Diego Luna and Gael Garcia Bernal, both native Spanish speakers and also born naturals in comic roles. So the cast is an all star affair, a fantastic cast, a trio of funny men. But sadly the script is somewhat of a letdown. It’s not to say that there are not laughs on offer here, only too few to keep the film going – even for the truncated run time of just 84 minutes. You’d think it’d fly by but sadly at times it drags horribly. Perhaps it’s the sub titles that make the comedy or the story harder to follow, I have to admit I’ve never been a fan of sub titles. I like to watch the performances of the characters, the nuances on their faces, sub titles do make this more difficult so perhaps that does go some way to explaining my lack of liking for this film.
The storyline is good and the direction is solid. The performances were good but as a whole I didn’t feel that everything truly clicked into place. It’s interesting seeing Ferrell in a Spanish speaking role and it must have been a genuine treat for Spanish speaking viewers who would not have their appreciation somewhat marred by the sub titles. It does give you an idea of what the rest of the world has to put up with when they watch any English speaking films which must make up the vast, vast majority of films that are released.
To sum it up I’d say that Casa de mi Padre is sporadically funny, has likable leads and is well directed, but is ultimately marred by a slightly weak script and the fact that having to read what is being said on screen detracts just that bit too much from the film for full appreciation of the film.