Will Ferrell has been known to take on risky projects and ideas that he holds near to his heart. He’s mostly known for his roles in comedies like Anchorman and Step Brothers, but occasionally he’ll step out of his comfort zone and do something like Everything Must Go or Stranger Than Fiction, which are much more serious endeavors. Casa de mi Padre leans slightly more towards his experimental side, even though it is very much a comedy and not so much a drama. It’s a weird, slow-burn Spanish western that might just become a cult classic in the coming years.
Armando (Will Ferrell) is a Mexican rancher that lives with his father. Occasionally his brother Raul (Diego Luna) comes to visit, which brings a great deal of shame onto Armando, because he is without a woman and seen as a great disappointment to his father. What Armando and his father don’t know is that Raul is mixed up with a powerful drug lord and that this drug lord is sick of playing fair and wants to take over the turf and get rid of Armando and his family while doing so.
Raul’s new lady friend Sonia (Genesis Rodriguez) is at the center of this heated plot, because she’s partially torn between Armando’s easy going ways and his brother Raul’s power and money. Sonia also has connections with this drug lord that leads back to family memories that she’d rather forget.
Casa de mi Padre is a full-fledged Spanish western that pays homage to the genre with complete authenticity. Some might find the details startling at first, because Ferrell and his director Matt Piedmont really do try their hardest to establish the film’s setting, pacing and characters. Everything about the film feels like a product of the era in which films like this existed in. Casa de mi Padre quickly becomes one of Will Ferrell‘s most passion-filled projects yet, as he remains completely faithful to the genre even when he could have quickly taken a short cut to ensure more laughs or an easier to digest story.
The film moves a lot slower than you’d expect for a Ferrell film and that’s because Casa de mi Padre is in fact a revenge western. It builds up the characters and actually spends time with the entire family, which helps make the blow of death sting a little more. When Armando is backed into a corner and left with nothing but his rifle the audience will quickly understand his motives and feel his pain. Ferrell walks the line of funny and dead serious with excellent precision and care for the character.
Armando is a well-rounded being, with hopes and dreams, despite how stupid and silly they might sound coming out of his mouth. He’s still an emotional and lonely character that you’d feel bad to abandon, which is exactly the type of character you need to root for. Will Ferrell never breaks character and plays the entire film with a straight face, which makes for some of the funniest moments of the film. Casa de mi Padre may be billed as a comedy, but the actual film is completely serious, from every single line read to the dozens of intense horse riding sequences.
The film works because of Ferrell’s determination and care for the project. Not once does he try and toss in a cheap joke that wouldn’t otherwise fit the setting of the film, which is something I really appreciated. Casa de mi Padre doesn’t hit all of the right notes, but it never once tries to settle for anything less than what it’s trying to achieve. It shares a lot in common with Black Dynamite and Hobo with a Shotgun, which are two Grindhouse-styled films that never leave their respective tribute genres.
Casa de mi Padre may not be a great comedy, but it is an artist’s complete unhampered vision. I found most of the jokes strangely enough funny, but I noticed that a lot of the film didn’t stick with me until the second viewing. The first watch left me a little cold and confused as to what I just viewed, but going back really did make the vision more clear and the overall enjoyment a little higher. Casa isn’t an instant classic, but I do see it growing increasingly more popular as Ferrell continues down his comedic path towards greatness.
The film comes to Blu-Ray with a 1080p video transfer from Lionsgate. The film is relatively soft and lacking of real hard detail, but that’s part of the gimmick. Colors are mostly warm and hazy, with a connective yellow tint haloing the entire transfer.
The 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio track makes the gun battles explode on the rear channels, while most of the dialogue and soft-spoken Spanish comes quietly on the front channels. This isn’t an extremely engaging affair, but it does more than get the job done.
Here’s a list of bonus content found on the disc:
- Audio Commentary by Director Matt Piedmont, Writer Andrew Steele and Star of the Film Will Ferrell
- The Making of Casa de mi Padre (HD)
- Deleted Scenes (HD)
- Fight For Love Music Video (HD)
- Comerciales (HD)
- Pedro Armendáriz, Jr. Final Interview (HD)
I doubt most will understand Casa de mi Padre and that’s perfectly acceptable. I’m not all too familiar with the content in which it is poking at, but that didn’t get in the way of me discovering such a weirdly funny revenge flick, with equal amounts of story, comedy and western shootouts. Will Ferrell gives a faithful performance, which helps anchor down the film’s roots in the telenovela world. I had troubles climbing completely on board with the film initially, because it stayed so true to its origins, but with time it grew on me.
Casa de mi Padre is the weirdest Will Ferrell film yet and the most rewarding as far as achieving what you set out to accomplish. The Blu-Ray recreates the look and sound of the era in which the film is supposed to represent, so you can’t really knock it for having a soft look and sound. It’s something that Ferrell fans will want to get together with buddies to discuss and dissect, while everyone else simply dismisses without even giving it a fair shake.