“If it sounds Spanish man, that’s what it is – a Spanish movie.” And so opens exactly that – a Spanish movie set in a Mexican-Western setting, starring none other than Will Ferrell. Who for the record, does not actually speak Spanish in his everyday life. But boy does he make a solid effort for his latest film, which pokes fun at the typically over-dramatic and slightly dodgy telenovela-style of television.
For those who don’t speak Spanish, don’t be turned away – the entire film is subtitled in English (down to the "la la las" of a duet) and the jokes are still just as easy to get. In fact, they somehow seem funnier when read across the screen.
The plot is simple and typical to the genre it makes fun of: Armando Alvarez (Ferrell), a simple minded and poorly spoken yet kind-hearted boy has grown up on his father’s ranch, single and dedicated to his work. During financial difficulties, his younger brother and successful businessman Raul (Luna) returns home to settle the debts and to show off his beautiful fiancé Sonia (Rodriguez). However, tensions rise when it is revealed that Raul’s money has been made in the drug trade and now he is at war with Mexican drug lord, the might Onza (Garcia Bernal). Of course, in true telenovela-style, love triangles are formed, incenst and murder transpires and dramatically meaningful glances and emotive duets fill the gaps.
As far as Will Ferrell movies go, Casa de mi Padre is not full of funny one-liners, much like Anchorman and Stepbrothers (possibly because it’s in Spanish). Instead, the humour is the concept itself – the satire of Spanish television. It’s overly dramatic, unrealistic and twisted. The scenery is obviously painted on boards and the horses and gunshot victims are replaced with dummies. It’s intentionally terrible – and brilliant.
Casa de mi Padre is a film like no other. It’s a great laugh and worth going to see, even if to simply watch Ferrell’s attempts at speaking Spanish. Just remember your reading glasses.