CHICAGO – “Drinking Buddies” director Joe Swanberg’s latest release of the same star wattage is “Happy Christmas,” an even lower-fi story than the Olivia Wilde beer comedy, steered even more by the casting that it was able to assemble. However, with this movie Swanberg doesn’t so much worry about having a story that could be confused with a more mainstream romantic comedy if it were to have a bigger budget.
Film Review: Will Ferrell Experiments with Surreal ‘Casa de mi Padre’
CHICAGO – Will Ferrell can never be accused of sitting on his comic laurels, nor repeating himself. “Casa de mi Padre” is a complete set-in-Mexico Spanish language film, including Ferrell’s dialogue. Although uneven, it delivers such a peculiar vibe that it can’t help but be admired, at least for the effort.
Essentially a Mexican film satire of the 1960s and ‘70s – think late night on a Spanish language TV station – it exposes the filmmakers particular obsession with the narrow genre, but it’s such a noble endeavor and delivers enough freakish laughs to be interesting, if not downright intriguing. Everything that is loved and made fun of in those old Mexican films are honored, most especially the difficulties in story continuity that those guerrilla filmmakers of the era seemed never to get right. What took them five crew members and an editing bay, took “Casa de mi Padre” a huge movie star and a 15 minute credit roll to recreate.
Will Ferrell is Armando, the son of his father (Pedro Armendáriz Jr.), who lives in the titular house. His revelry for the land and his father’s pastures is interrupted by the return of the prodigal son, his brother Raul (Diego Luna). There is something suspicious about his sibling, but nothing wrong with Raul’s beautiful fiance Sonia (Genesis Rodriguez), who forms an instant mutual admiration with Armando.
The impression regarding Raul turns to darkness, as it is revealed that he is associated with a drug lord named Onza (Gael Garcia Bernal), who is being pursued by DEA officials led by Agent Parker (Nick Offerman). This distresses Armando, but when he interrupts the wedding rehearsal dinner with his suspicions, he is banished from Sonia and Raul’s nuptials by his father. Onza uses that ceremony to exact his revenge, and Armando is called back to the Casa to try and fix the very difficult dilemma.
Photo credit: John Estes for Pantelion Films