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Casa De Mi Padre

Year: 2012
Production Co: NALA Films
Director: Matt Piedmont
Writer: Andrew Steele/Eva Maria Peters
Cast: Will Ferrell, Diego Luna, Genesis Rodriguez, Gael Garcia Bernal, Adrien Martinez, Nick Offerman

I can see the appeal in trying something like this, but despite a few laughs the movie just didn't know what it wanted to be. Did it want the comedy to be inside the story, in the characters and situations, or did it want to be directed at the movie itself in scenes of grindhouse-style cheapness?

It tried to have it both ways, they butted up against each other and they didn't succeed enough at either. There just wasn't a cohesive comic language throughout.

Will Ferrell (as far from a Mexican as you can get, the first joke that makes you think the film itself is the gag) is Armando, a simple-minded but principled Mexican rancher who comes up against drug runners when his better looking, more successful, more beloved brother Raul (Diego Luna) comes home after making it big, piles of money and a hot trophy fiance, Sonia (Genesis Rodriguez) on his arm.

But after a run in with local gang lord Onza (Gael Garcia Bernal), it seems Raul has come by his money and hot woman by less than honest means. As Sonia is drawn to the more upstanding Armando, he takes a stand to protect his land and the woman he's increasingly coming to love, declaring war on Onza's cartel.

The whole film is in Spanish with English subtitles, but that's just one more clue that the intent of the film was to parody a movement and style rather than be a comedy itself.

Somewhere in a parallel universe there's a double feature of Mexican gangster thrillers from the 60s and 70s in the style of Tarantino and Rodriguez's Grindhouse, and Casa De Mi Padre is one of the 60 second fake trailers in between them where it belongs. There are a couple of scripted chuckles and a couple of gags about the aesthetic, but not much more.

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