I’m almost nervous to give “Casa de mi Padre” another shot. My first time viewing this comedy was an affair filled with endless laughter and childish giggling, which at one point even drove me to tears. But remove or alter certain elements of the equation—my mindset at the time, the audience’s participation in the laughter and the overall environment of the theater—and I wonder how much “Casa de mi Padre” would work a second time around.
This is not a well-tailored comedy by any means. The script by Andrew Steele is merely a collection of funny moments strung together by a few gags—mainly the novelty of a comedy starring Will Ferrell that is told predominantly in the Spanish language, which subsequently leads to lampooning the trademark over-dramatics of telenovelas and the gleeful cheesiness of grindhouse exploitation features.
It’s like “Scary Movie” for the awesome B-genres that often get swept under the rug. “Casa de mi Padre” is silliness firing on all cylinders. Delightfully non-serious and blatantly cheap looking, the comedy is a goofy hybrid of horrible painted backgrounds, tacky editing, and over-the-top violence. It’s clear what the movie’s trying to spoof, but the question remains of how well it actually executes its parody.
With both Steele and director Matt Piedmont previously involved with Will Ferrell through the comedy website Funny or Die, “Casa de mi Padre” feels much like the feature-length version of something one would expect to see from the site’s viral offerings.
Is it a one-joke movie strung from an idea that could have easily been covered in a five-minute web video? Sure. Is it a one-joke movie where I could not stop laughing at the one joke, regardless of how many times they repeated it? You bet.
All in all, “Casa de mi Padre” has the merriness of mockery in its heart. It’s relentlessly ludicrous and rarely plays it straight, bringing to life the zeal of just watching a group of actors riff, improvise, and act like idiots. The subtitles are secondary, as the movie mainly rides high on its physical and visual hilarity.
I’m sure the gratuitous goofiness of the movie may irritate or even bore some viewers to resentment. As for me, though the stitches have long since healed, “Casa de mi Padre” had me busting at the seams.
Greg Vellante is a film critic for The Eagle Tribune.