Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Review: Casa de mi Padre

Casa de mi Padre is a movie that's all about execution. The movie, in concept, is fairly rote: A beat for beat spoof of the infamously overdramatic Mexican Tellanovellas starring a well known comedy actor. It's very easy to envision a version of this film that becomes a film-person punchline for years based on how terrible it is: A condescending, winking idiot fest probably starring Carlos Mencia. But, with the right actors and the right style, mixed with a real understanding of what makes these things both compelling and HILARIOUS, Casa de mi Padre has a real shot at being one of the best comedies I'll see all year.

The set up is fairly simple: Will Ferrell (yes really, we'll get to that in a second) is the son of a wealthy rancher who's brother returns home with an impossibly beautiful woman. Oh and the woman is hiding secrets. And so is the brother. And so is Ferrell for that matter. Yeah it's one of those.

And that's about 2/3rds of the execution right there, in knowing how to handle itself. Ferrell for example, sticks out like a sore thumb, despite having learned Spanish for the role. He is clearly not Mexican, nor is any attempt to make him look Mexican nor does anyone ever comment on it. The execution includes intentional 'technical failings' like shitty edits, bad matte paintings or an obviously fake mountain lion. But, even though no one ever comments on them we can all tell it's obviously intentional, a secondary line of jokes.

A lot of how much you enjoy it will be determined by how much you can get on that wavelength: The idea that all of it is intentional. From the shitty effects, film skips, hilariously awful screenplay, overdramatic line readings, translation errors, all of it is clearly intended to create a feeling of something that's terrible. And, with a couple of exceptions, they really manage to pull it off.

The various odd plot twists are the weakest part of the film, as much of it feels a little underthought, even from a comedy perspective. There are parts of it that trail off into nothingness, though since the movie is only 84 minutes long (no really, only 84 minutes) that might be an editing problem.

A lot of the movie, especially towards the middle, feeling like it's stalling on it's way to the completely insane third act (seriously, the movie is almost worth watching just for how batshit insane it goes in the third act). And while it's funny on the way there, a lot of people won't want to stick around just to wait for that level of insanity.

As I said during my Tim and Eric review, I judge a comedy by how often and how hard I laugh. And I laughed throughout about 90 percent of this movie. So judged by those standards, Casa de mi Padre is a solid film, a good comedy if ever I saw one. So if you're in the mood for a comedy, definitely go see this one.

Elessar is a 22 year old Alaskan born cinephile and he's pretty sure that the opening song is by the same person who did the Goldfinger theme.

No comments:

Post a Comment