In a nutshell, Bored & Dangerous says: “With its bad mat painting backgrounds on obvious sound stage sets, to laughably fake horses and puppet mountain lions, to the deliberately awkward, exposition filled dialogue, it takes a lot of skill from some real professionals to make something that appears so amateur.”
The main reason I started this blog was to make me watch more movies, and to vary the kinds of movies I watched. The first part of that has been well and truly accomplished with me watching hundreds of movies for the first time, instead of falling back on old favourites over and over again. But l’m not sure if I’ve varied my selections enough. I still watch mainly American movies, with directors, writers and actors that make them a pretty safe bet. So this year, I’m forcing myself to seek out more international movies. With Foreign Language Weekends, every weekend(ish) during 2016, I’ll review two(ish) non-English language movies.
“If you were truly smart, you would know that you are dumb. Look at your fat head.”
Will Ferrell is a really funny dude. Even when he makes movies I don’t really care for, the Anchorman series for instance, I can’t deny that he is still enjoyable as he indulges in his goofiest tendencies. He’s also the kind of guy who I think is just as concerned with entertaining himself as he is with entertaining the audience. Almost like he tries to make himself laugh first, and if the audience joins in, bonus. I think that, because I can’t imagine any other motivation that would lead to something as bizarre as Casa de mi Padre.
Armando (Ferrell) is the son of a Mexican cattle baron. Things aren’t looking so good on the financial side, until the return of Armando’s brother, and their father’s clear favourite, Raul (Diego Luna). With new business ventures leaving him cashed up enough to save the day, Raul also returns home with a beautiful fiancé (Genesis Rodriguez as Sonia).
But the good times don’t last long. It turns out that Raul’s profitable ventures are drug related. And that he has crossed local cartel kingpin Onza (Gael Garcia Bernal). Since Armando has already witnessed Onza execute one man, he tries to warn his family about the trouble his brother has got them into. Tensions between the siblings only grow when Armando and Sonia begin to show an obvious attraction to each other.
Case de mi Padre is a spoof of cheap, Mexploitation movies. But it is so straight faced, that it’s almost a genuine Mexplotation movie. Performed pretty much entirely in Spanish, Ferrell fully commits to his role as a Mexican cattleman, as well as committing hard to his soap opera performance. The longing looks into the distance, the dramatic speeches, the super long, super butt obsessed sex scene filmed through the softest lens ever attached to a camera. The attention to shitty detail by everyone involved in this movie is nothing short of remarkable.
With its bad, mat painting backgrounds on obvious sound stage sets, to laughably fake horses and puppet mountain lions, to the deliberately awkward, exposition filled dialogue, it takes a lot of skill from some real professionals to make something that appears so amateur. And like I said in my opening to this review, it feels like it’s in some way nothing more than a really elaborate joke being played on us by Ferrell. And it’s a joke that even at the movie’s scant 80 minutes feels a little strained. Casa de mi Padre comes dangerously close to flogging a dead horse. But in a way, that’s its great achievement. I got a little vicarious thrill by how close it came to crumbling under its own dead pan, wacky overload juggling act.