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|Casa de Mi Padre
dir Matt Piedmont
scr Andrew Steele
prd Emilio Diez Barroso, Jessica Elbaum, Will Ferrell, Darlene Caamano Loquet, Adam McKay, Kevin J Messick
with Will Ferrell, Diego Luna, Gael Garcia Bernal, Genesis Rodriguez, Pedro Armendariz Jr, Efren Ramirez, Adrian Martinez, Manuel Urrego, Nick Offerman, Jerry Collins, Molly Shannon, Jose Luis Rodriguez
release US 16.Mar.12, UK 12.Jun.12
El leon blanco: Ferrell and Rodriguez
|R E V I E W B Y R I C H C L I N E
This is such a pastiche that it becomes a parody of a parody. So it's impossible to really get involved in the story or characters. But the plot is genuinely clever, and there's a continual stream of knowing gags that'll keep fans of B-movies chuckling.
Armando (Ferrell) is the second son of Miguel (Armendariz), a rancher who dotes on his city-slicker son Raul (Luna) even though he might be a drug dealer. But problems arise with local cartel kingpin Onza (Garcia Bernal) when Raul decides to marry Onza's niece Sonia (Rodriguez). Miguel is delighted, but Armando and his farmhand pals (Ramirez and Martinez) know that big trouble is brewing. Sure enough, an American DEA agent (Offerman) is prowling around with a Federale (Urrego). And if everyone kills each other, it'll make their jobs easier.
The filmmakers raise some startlingly serious themes then ignore them to poke fun at clumsy Hollywood attempts to mimic Mexican exploitation movies. So the gags are pretty nonstop, lampooning low-budget filmmaking in which no one has time to worry about continuity or credibility. So we can constantly see just how cheesy the sets are, with badly painted backdrops and clunky effects (the pivotal white lion is a Jim Henson Company creation).
And of course the film constantly plays on the fact that Ferrell isn't remotely Latino. That said, his Spanish isn't bad, and his mispronunciations are woven right into the story. He also has terrific chemistry with the bombshell-like Rodriguez, and their love scene is ridiculously hilarious. Meanwhile, Luna and Garcia Bernal tear up the scenery as two men who really wish they were Al Pacino in Scarface, spewing the exaggerated dialog as if their lives depended on it.
In the end, the film is far to corny and stupid to linger in the memory. It's also profoundly misogynistic, with stereotypical bimbos populating the backgrounds of almost every scene playing, pointedly, maids and prostitutes. But just when we start worrying about what the filmmakers are trying to say, something sublimely silly happens on screen to keep us chuckling. It's a cheap trick, but it works.
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© 2012 by Rich Cline, Shadows on the Wall
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