Casa de mi Padre

Armando Alvarez (Will Ferrell) and Raul Alvarez (Diego Luna) in “Casa de mi Padre.”

courtesy of John Estes

Will Ferrell’s latest comedy, “Casa de mi Padre” opened in ninth place at the box office over the weekend, grossing only $2.2 million. At first glance, it may appear a failure, but with only a $6 million dollar production budget, Lionsgate Studios executives could still turn a profit.

Regardless, the numbers bring into question Will Ferrell’s ability to successfully attract the comedy crowd, one that seemed to prefer Channing Tatum and Jonah Hill in “21 Jump Street” this weekend.

Ferrell stars as Armando Alvarez, a rancher who has worked his father’s farm in Mexico his entire life. His brother, Raul (Diego Luna) has taken a different route by going into the drug trade, unbeknownst to his family. When the ranch encounters financial difficulty, Raul returns home with his wife Sonia (Genesis Rodriguez) to offer his support, but soon finds himself in a drug war with Onza (Gael Garcia Bernal), a prominent Mexican drug dealer who is threatening the wellbeing of the family business.

When Armando discovers his brother’s true line of work, and falls in love with Sonia, the family begins to fall apart from within. When Onza kidnaps Sonia, Armando, who has quickly developed into a mature and dangerous gunslinger, takes it upon himself to rescue her despite all odds.

The film is at its best when it intentionally announces its low budget features, implementing scenes with toy cars and cheesy movie sets without embarrassment. With all the dialogue in Spanish, reading captions is a bit tedious at first, but soon becomes just another unique and comical aspect of the film with witty dialogue that is just as fun to read as it would otherwise be to understand.

Ferrell manages to pull off another role incorporating his boyish innocence, as seen in “Stepbrothers” and “Talledega Nights” in a format that will not have viewers feeling as if they are watching a rerun.

It’s difficult to call “Casa de mi Padre” a bad film, that seems to be the goal, and the very thing that makes this film fun to watch. Needless to say, as the film stars Ferrell, this is not one to be taken seriously, and a viewer looking for a mature comedy will likely find the exit early. This film brings out the youthful immaturities that we all try so hard to keep off display. It will have you laughing without regret at things that are normally serious subject matter, and it will provide action, drama, and suspense in an over-the-top format that makes it all worthwhile.

Despite its low budget and lighthearted nature, filmmaker Matt Piedmont wisely marketed the film to a diverse population, as exit polls in certain areas of the United States showed more than half the audience was Mexican-American.  

“Casa de mi Padre” is worth a try. Loosen up, prepare for some cheap laughs, and take your seat. If nothing else, you will get to see Ferrell in a tacky cowboy costume.

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