Sunday, March 18, 2012

Casa De Mi Padre review; either the dumbest, or most clever film in years

I am a huge fan of Will Ferrell.  Since his SNL days, he's been in one comedy hit after another.  The latest effort may take people by surprise.  Why?  Because Casa De Mi Padre is all in Spanish.  Yes, even Ferrell recites all his lines in Spanish.  The film is mostly a spoof of international films, and a satire that plays off of many stereotypes.  Ferrell plays Armando, brother to a Mexican drug lord.  When a feud with a rival drug lord begins, the comedy begins. Lets go!

What I liked about the film:
The Actors/Characters
I've already expressed my Ferrell fondness, but there are a ton of great actors in this film. Diego Luna plays Ferrell's drug lord brother.  Many will remember him as the hopeless romantic in The Terminal.  In this film however, Luna is hilarious.   He plays to every stereotype of a drug lord in movies.  Big sunglasses at all times, the facial hair, and he smokes ALL THE TIME.  Great material here.  Efren Ramirez (or Pedro from Napoleon Dynamite as he will forever be typecast), is one of Ferrell's sidekicks.  Adrian Martinez is the other sidekick in the film; he and Ramirez have some great scenes with Ferrell.  The three sing a hilarious song in the film that i cant seem to get out of my head.  It's important to note though, the sidekicks were not in the film NEARLY enough in my opinion.

The gorgeous, Genisis Rodriguez, from last year's Man On A Ledge is the female lead.  She is Luna's fiance.   Even though it is a comedy, she has a ton of emotional scenes.  And it doesnt hurt that she is so beautiful.  There also some great performances for supporting characters.   Gael García Bernal plays the rival drug lord and Nick Offerman an America DEA Officer.  Albeit small roles, the two pull it off with style.

The Parody/Spoofs
'Casa' parodies a lot of western/international films from decades ago.  A few quick examples.  As the villain drug lord, Bernal is always smoking a cigarette.  To be EXTRA intimidating, he lights up two separate cigarettes and smokes them at the same time.  He really pulls it off in a way that you cant help but laugh.  There is another scene with Ferrell and his friend where, purposely, you can tell the backdrop is a painting and not the mountainside they're supposed to be at.  Last example: there were a couple times where, again on purpose, the editing is wrong.  We can see just a few frames from a scene that occurred earlier in the film, then it cuts back to the correct spot.  Those kinds of spoofs really made the movie one of the most clever I've seen in years.  It goes downhill from here.

What I didnt like about the film:
Everything Else
You probably thought I really enjoyed the film based on what youve read so far huh?  Unfortunatley, not so.  The story is abismal.  Andrew Steele wrote one of the most generic, cluttered scripts I've ever seen.  Its so unorganized, that is was hard to overlook.  Director Matt Piedmont doesn't help matters either.  There are problems with the pacing and the tone.  The format of the movie, especially the Spanish, hurt the movie overall.  There could be no real improvisation.

The Verdict
It was more dumb than clever
I did not like the movie at all.  It was just dumb overall and had so little originality to it.  Sure the actors did well with what they had to work with, and the spoofs were clever.  But there still has to be a good story, an arc of some kind, and there just wasn't.  Do you think I'm alone in my dislike for the film?  I'm not.  Forget the 46% rating on Rotten Tomatoes.  I had the luxury of watching an early screening.  These are free mind you.  I lost count after 10+ people walked out of the theater within the first 45 minutes.  Not good.  I don't think the movie is going to make much money at all.  But it is a Ferrell movie, so we'll have to wait and see.


Dan O. said...

The moments in this flick that are funny, are funny as hell and work incredibly well in the way that a good spoof movie always should. However, it does feel like an SNL skit stretched out a little too far which makes it seem a little too long even if it is only 84 minutes. Still, the cast is good and all bring out the laughs. Well-written review Tony.

Tony Sayegh said...

Dan The Man... I agree with your notes about the film. I just wanted to let you know I've read your material before and you are a very talented writer... for your age. Just kidding! Keep up the good work.