Casa de mi Padre Movie Review, Written by: Karen Benardello
Director: Matt Piedmont (‘Funny or Die Presents…’)
Starring: Will Ferrell, Diego Luna (‘Y Tu Mama Tambien’), Gael Garcia Bernal (‘Zorro Reborn’) and Genesis Rodriguez (‘Man on a Ledge’)
Shooting a film based on the current sociocultural differences between America and Mexico can be a taunting task for any filmmaker. But deciding to film the movie as a comedy in an entirely foreign language, Spanish, and casting a main actor who also doesn’t know the language can pose extreme technical and social issues. But director Matt Piedmont, writer Andrew Steele and Will Ferrell, who previously worked together on ‘Saturday Night Live’ and ‘Funny or Die Presents…,’ successfully captured the telenovela dramatics plaguing the American-Mexican drug war in the new comedy ‘Casa de mi Padre.’
‘Casa de mi Padre’ follows Armando Alvarez (played by Ferrell), who has lived a simple life working on his father’s ranch in Mexico. As his father begins experiencing financial difficulties, Armando’s younger brother, Raul (portrayed by Diego Luna), arrives with his new fiancee, Sonia (portrayed by Genesis Rodriguez), to help save the ranch. While Armando admires his brother for being a successful businessman who plans on settling all debts their father has incurred, he is shocked to discover Raul is really a drug dealer. As Armando contends with Raul’s illegal business, and the war that starts with Mexico’s most feared drug lord, Onza (portrayed by Gael Garcia Bernal), he unexpectedly falls for Sonia.
Piedmont and Steele took a risky move when deciding to film the comedy in Spanish, as neither speaks the language. But the two still created a story with an entertaining homage to a variety of genres, including telenovelas and Spaghetti Westerns, that also reflects the contemporary sociocultural conflicts between the U.S. and Mexico. Working with translators, the filmmakers amusingly satirized the overly dramatic, romantic theme seen in the popular Spanish format through the love triangle between Armando, Raul and Sonia.
In the same relationship between the brothers, ‘Casa de mi Padre’ showcases Armando’s disappointment over his younger brother’s choice of work. Armando feels it’s immoral for Raul to be trafficking drugs into America and harming innocent people. But Raul, a slick and suave international businessman, shows no guilt over anyone becoming addicted to his products. He points out that Americans choose to do drugs, and they’re the ones settling the ranch’s debts.
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