Hoping for a way to save their father’s ranch, the Alvarez brothers (Will Ferrell and Diego Luna) find themselves at war with a feared drug lord (Gael Garcia Bernal). Casa De Mi Padre is an odd little parody of many a Mexican action film by way of Latina melodrama spoofing and vintage grindhouse nods.
Casa De Mi Padre essentially has no reason to exist outside of those involved being able to have a laugh. The cast members’ fun isn’t completely at the expense of the audiences’ but it does tread a fine line. Although occasionally humorous a fair few of the gags and 70’s pastiche fall flat, similar to the flair used in Planet Terror with the novelty wearing thin in bungled cuts, retro celluloid fails, overlong campy trip montage and the unfunny disclaimer apologising for a missing scene. In fact a lot of this film could serve as a Robert Rodriguez spoof with a distinctly Hot Shots via Telemundo feel.
Ferrell is still in man child mode, here to a calmer and lesser degree but those seeking a dramatic departure from the actor should instead head to his forays into mumble-core; Stranger than Fiction and Everything Must Go. If ever there was any doubt about his type of role there is even a ‘Jazz flute version 2’ (circa Anchorman) with an impromptu trumpet solo amid a camp fire musical interlude. Bernal and Luna are clearly having the most fun, revelling in the liberation of not having to be serious and credible; they are near earnest in their hamming it up. They are both quite funny but also enjoyable for their sheer glee at not playing it straight. A neat but bungled film that I suspect may struggle to find much of an audience thanks to its non-English, a slightly toned down Ferrell and less accessible niche genre referencing. Casa De Mi Padre is not quite funny or enough to be memorable or easy to recommend, though it does have some mild laughs, charm and impressive Mexican shoot out homage I highly doubt it warrants more than one viewing or a wide release in the here in the UK and likely would’ve served better as a Funny or Die sketch on line.