Beaches Be Trippin\': Five Texas Coast Spots Worth the Drive

Beaches Be Trippin': Five Texas Coast Spots Worth the Drive

Arts & Culture: Let’s face it, most of us Lone Stars view the Texas coast as a poor man’s Waikiki. Hell, maybe just a poor man’s Panama Beach — only to be used... By Callie Enlow 7/10/2013
Best Happy Hour

Best Happy Hour

Best of SA 2013: 4/24/2013
San Antonio’s Transgender Community Shows its Pride

San Antonio’s Transgender Community Shows its Pride

The Pride Issue: Despite the common belief that it was transgender activist Sylvia Rivera who sparked the beginning of the modern gay rights movement by flinging her high... By Jade Esteban Estrada 7/2/2014
Cityscrapes: Local history pays the price for Briscoe deal

Cityscrapes: Local history pays the price for Briscoe deal

News: The annual City budget is a dense and often arcane thing, filled with “mandates,” “restricted funds,” and “special funds.” It isn’t the lightest reading... By Heywood Sanders 9/17/2014
Daniela Riojas’ Photographic Studies in Self-discovery

Daniela Riojas’ Photographic Studies in Self-discovery

Arts & Culture: Daniela Riojas explores ideas of the figure in art, Latin American rituals, letting go of the past, and Jungian archetypes in... By Tom Turner 9/17/2014

Search hundreds of restaurants in our database.

Search hundreds of clubs in our database.

Follow us on Instagram @sacurrent

Print Email

Screens & Tech

'Casa de Mi Padre': In defense of Will Ferrell's silliest (and craziest) movie yet

Photo: Courtesy photo, License: N/A

Courtesy photo

Dos hermanos — Amando álvarez (Ferrell) and brother Raúl (Luna) in a scene from Casa de mi Padre.

Casa de mi Padre, Will Ferrell's first Spanish-language movie, opened Friday to lackluster reviews, and I wonder: what were those riotous laughs at South by Southwest's premiere on March 13? Who were those people? How is it I walked for 30 minutes after the movie ended looking for someone who hadn't liked the movie and couldn't find a one?

Ferrell's being hanged for daring to make an unconventional movie no one wanted to make. But the laughter in evidence when I saw it — even when there was apparently nothing going on onscreen — suggests there is room in Hollywood for Spanish and subtitles, God save us. Some have hinted those who like this film are probably telenovela fans, but that's a b.s. argument — I hate telenovelas, and I loved this film.

The movie is a mix of Mexican '60s and '70s films and soap operas, John Ford westerns, Sam Peckinpah violence, Alejandro Jodorowski's magic psychedelia, and Saturday Night Live at its silliest (fake animals, miniature cars, bogus backdrops). It starts with epic Leone-meets-Tarantino opening credits and features needless music videos thrown into the mix, B-movie continuity problems, shameless overacting and deliberate closeups (a bloody white rose after a massacre, a cop's sunglasses revealing a member of the filming crew eating a sandwich). It's a sloppy manipulative mess, but I enjoyed every single second of it.

The plot is simple, and the movie's very basic premise could not have been more ridiculous: Will Ferrell as a Mexican. As the son of Miguel Ernesto Álvarez (legendary Mexican movie icon Pedro Armendáriz Jr., who died in December, in his final role), Ferrell is the dumb progeny who falls for his brother's fiancée and who has an over-the-top life-changing experience that enables him to become a hero and save the day for his family. Still skeptical? Ask yourself, if Mitt Romney has a shot at becoming our first "Hispanic" president, why can't Ferrell say "No, señor ... No hablo americano"?

As Ferrell's drug-dealing brother, Diego Luna nearly steals the show as the "smart" brother. "[Mexico] will grow tremendously thanks to the USA's addictions," he says at one point, in one of many examples of the movie's exploitation of old stereotypes (women are dumb sex objects, Mexicans sell drugs, and Americans are "shit-eating crazy monster babies").

Among the many rules broken in the production is good cowboy Armando wearing a black hat, and bad narco "La Onza" ("the Ounce," in an effective light-hearted turn by Gael García Bernal) wearing white. The only scene shared by old pals García Bernal and Luna (they starred in Y tu mamá también together) is the comedic equivalent of the scene in Heat where Robert De Niro and Al Pacino finally meet.

The movie was written in bad English, translated into bad Spanish by a Mexican who served as Ferrell's diction coach, and the actor learned his lines phonetically. The result is more authentic than Spanish attempts by critically acclaimed shows like Breaking Bad that often use actors who obviously can't speak Spanish to pass as Mexicans. And even when the Spanish wasn't perfect ("Casa de mi Padre," for example, should be "La Casa de mi Padre") and some protested, the crew came to the rescue.

We welcome user discussion on our site, under the following guidelines:

To comment you must first create a profile and sign-in with a verified DISQUS account or social network ID. Sign up here.

Comments in violation of the rules will be denied, and repeat violators will be banned. Please help police the community by flagging offensive comments for our moderators to review. By posting a comment, you agree to our full terms and conditions. Click here to read terms and conditions.
comments powered by Disqus