Tags: Adam McKay, Adrian Martinez, Blu-ray, Diego Luna, Efren Ramirez, Gael García Bernal, Genesis Rodriguez, Jerry Collins, Lionsgate, Manuel Urrego, Matt Piedmont, Nick Offerman, Pedro Armendáriz Jr., Will Ferrell
has an average rating of 5.6 on IMDb
1080p in AVC MPEG-4 on a 50gb disc
SPANISH DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio
are worthwhile and ALL in HD
– 84 minutes
This uses 22.5GB for the movie out of 35.6GB total.
Overall Verdict – Recommended
— Review written by: Justin Sluss —
The Movie Itself was directed by Matt Piedmont and was written by Andrew Steele. Both of these guys are best known for their previous work writing on “Saturday Night Live” as well as directing, producing and writing for “Funny or Die” — a website founded by Will Ferrell and Adam McKay‘s production company, Gary Sanchez Productions. Speaking of Ferrell and McKay, they both served as producers on the film and this also was a Gary Sanchez Production. Ferrell and McKay had previously worked together on such films as “Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy” (2004), “Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby” (2006), “Step Brothers” (2008) and “The Other Guys” (2010). The film plays a bit like a telenovela (Spanish soap opera) as well as a bit like a bad Mexican Western done on a low budget. Speaking of which, almost the entire film is in Spanish.
The film tells the story of a simple Mexican rancher’s son named “Armando Alvarez” (played by Will Ferrell). He’s very proud of his work and looks up very highly to his father, “Miguel” (played by the late Pedro Armendáriz Jr.), yet his father does not think very highly of him. His father considers his son very stupid and constantly makes fun of him. His other younger son “Raul” (played by Diego Luna) the father has much respect for. The father’s ranch has fallen on hard times financially and the real money seems to be in the drug dealing business. A local man referred to as “The Onza” (played by Gael García Bernal) has the town living in fear as he’s the biggest drug dealer in the area. Armando and his two friends “Esteban” (played by Efren Ramirez) and “Manuel” (played by Adrian Martinez) have witnessed the killing that The Onza does to those who cross his path. Armando looks at drug dealers as complete scum and is proud to actually have a legitimate job as a rancher. One day Armando and his father are surprised to find that Raul has returned to the ranch promising to help fix their financial problems. Raul brings with him a gorgeous Latina by the name of “Sonia Lopez” (played by Genesis Rodriguez) that he’s engaged to marry. This woman has every male in the ranch drooling over her, as she’s one of the most beautiful women they have ever seen. The father is extremely proud of his younger son to have such a beautiful fiancé and be a real businessman — so he calls himself.
The minute Sonia arrives and is introduced to the family she immediately strikes up a conversation and seems to take a liking to Armando. The two eventually go by horseback to a beautiful little area that Armando holds dear to his heart. It’s here where he asks her if she really loves his brother Raul. It’s also soon after this that Armando learns that his brother is not a legitimate businessman but instead is a drug dealer just like The Onza. This makes Armando furious and he tries his best to not tell his father, afraid that it will break his heart. Eventually though Armando confronts his brother about being a drug dealer. The two are at a bar discussing the situation and Raul is trying to legitimize what he does when none other than The Onza comes up to them and strikes up a conversation. He leaves a bag on the table, talks for a bit with them and eventually leaves. It’s to Armando’s surprise when he looks in the bag to find a severed hand. This was left for Raul to take as a threat. The reason for that is because it’s Raul’s plan to take over the drug trade in the area from The Onza. This is something that will lead to some serious consequences.
Speaking of the Raul situation, it’s only a matter of time before Armando is confronted by the local police via one “Officer Blancardo” (played by Manuel Urrego) and an American DEA agent “Parker” (played by Nick Offerman). Both the local police officer and the DEA agent inform Armando that they know his brother is a drug dealer, specifically trafficker. He’s taking drugs from Mexico across the American border and selling them. They tell Armando that he should cooperate with them and help take down his brother. As you can imagine our main character, despite his disdain for drug dealing, isn’t too eager to cooperate when it would mean his brother going to jail or perhaps worse. Yet his brother is already at war with The Onza and that is just as much a threat to his safety as the DEA. In fact The Onza sends his men to make sure the wedding between Raul and Sonia doesn’t go as planned. Lots of people are shot at the wedding. This will lead to both Raul and even Armando eventually seeking revenge. They’ll make a strong effort at trying to take down the drug lord. That sets up the plot for the film.
“Casa de mi Padre” proves to be one unique comedy and also proves to be downright goofy or cheesy rather at times with its gags. Things like fake painted backdrops thrown in with normal footage shot on locations, bad film edits done on purpose, fake horses, other fake animals and countless other things. Will Ferrell comes across impressive with his attempt at Spanish here and despite this not being his typical style of comedy he manages to make it work. This film is by no means as funny as the previous films that Will Ferrell and Adam McKay have done together such as “Anchorman” but it is quite hilarious in its own unique way. A unique way that seems to have been a bit misunderstood by both critics and moviegoers. This is the type of comedy that folks who enjoy films like “Airplane!” would like, just not quite as full of laughs, but instead has its comedic elements spaced out and thrown in with more a subtle sense.
One thing that may have discouraged a lot of people from going to see this during its theatrical run may have been the fact that it’s primarily in Spanish with English subtitles. Most people think that type of film, one in a foreign language with English subtitles, is nowadays just reserved for artsy films or in the older days for the classic “spaghetti westerns” or kung fu films. A film can work as a comedy in a foreign language with subtitles and this proves it. By all means give it a chance, especially if you’re a fan of Will Ferrell. One last thing, anyone who gives this film a hard time for being absurd that Will Ferrell play a Mexican might want to remember that they let Jake Gyllenhaal play the “Prince of PERSIA” and that Robert Downey, Jr. was nominated for an Academy Award for playing a white man that played a black man. Anyone of any race can play someone of another race. In fact, sometimes folks almost get rewarded for it. It’s also by no means racist or offensive in any manner. It was done as a means of tribute if anything to Spanish films. Sure, it pokes a bit of fun at the lower budget ones and their flaws but it’s deep down a tribute thrown in with some obviously comedic elements of parody.
Video Quality on this release is in full 1080p using the AVC MPEG-4 codec on a BD-50 (50 gigabyte dual-layered Blu-ray Disc) in the 2.35:1 aspect ratio. According to the technical specifications on IMDb this was shot on 35MM film using the Panavision Panaflex Gold II camera. This starts up with an opening title sequence that looks quite impressive as well as like a cross between a Mexican version of a “James Bond” intro and an intro to a Sergio Leone spaghetti western. Once the film itself starts up you’ll notice it actually has some really beautiful cinematography from the very start. The black level is solid, the color palette is somewhat vibrant and the fleshtones are accurate with the exception of the slight amount of make-up on star Will Ferrell to help make him appear Mexican. This definitely has a warm tone to it visually. There’s a good consistent visible amount of film grain here which helps fit the film’s visual style quite well. A lot of detail here, especially in close-ups and as I said earlier there’s some actually impressive visuals here. The DP (director of photography) Ramsey Nickell did a really good job and it’s done justice here in the digital transfer from 35MM film to Hi-Def. All and all this earns itself a solid “4 Star Rating” for overall video quality.
Audio Quality on this release is presented in SPANISH DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio. The film starts up with the Score (original music) done by Andrew Feltenstein & John Nau sounding excellent. During the intro title sequence the song performed by Christina Aguilera also sounds excellent and starts the film off with the right type of feel to it in terms of sound. There’s a really great amount of rear channel and LFE (bass) presence here throughout the score and the songs featured in the film. Speaking of which there are a few songs actually performed by Will Ferrell along with his character’s friends as well as with Genesis Rodriguez‘s character and they all come across very nicely. The music itself sounds great and has a lot of fidelity to it; namely a trumpet solo in one song. Dialogue here is delivered distinctly through the center channel speaker and is never once drowned out by any of the music or action in the film and the same goes for the vocals during songs. As I mentioned in my review of the film itself, not all of the film is in Spanish but a large, large majority of it is. There are a few occasions when the DEA agent and mexican police officer speak English. Later on in the film you’ll notice that gunfire is absolutely over-the-top intense and sounds very realistic. The gunfight scenes definitely pack one hell of a “punch” to them so-to-speak. This almost made me consider giving a higher audio quality rating but I think an impressive “4.5 Star Rating” for overall audio quality is nothing to look down on.
Bonus Materials on this release are ALL presented in full 1080p Hi-Def (HD) video quality with DTS 2.0 Stereo @1.5Mbps sound.
- “The Making of Casa de mi Padre” (15:43 – HD) has some behind-the-scenes on set footage as well as interviews with producer/star Will Ferrell, co-stars Gael García Bernal, Diego Luna and Genesis Rodriguez. We learn some interesting facts here like that Will Ferrell actually doesn’t speak Spanish, he did however have it in high school and college as well as learned his lines in a month period. Speaking of the language, it’s also mentioned that a large majority of the crew, including the director, didn’t speak Spanish. This proves to be a pretty funny and informative featurette.
- Deleted Scenes (19:43 – HD) offers up a total of ten. These prove to be pretty damn funny as well as a few kind of serious and they all add a bit more to the story. Obviously these include subtitles in English.
- “Fight for Love” Music Video (3:20 – HD) is performed by Will Ferrell and Genesis Rodriguez. This song is featured during the end credits of the film.
- “Comerciales” (3:00 – HD) offers up three fake Spanish style commercials for fake products featured in the film. These products are Champion 100′s cigarettes, Scorpion Beer and Suare Leopardo Cigarettes. Actors Nick Offerman, Will Ferrell, Efren Ramirez and Diego Luna star in these, in character from the film. These are pretty damn funny.
- “Pedro Armendáriz Final Interview” (3:37 – HD) is with the late actor who played the father “Miguel” in the film. He passed away on December 26th, 2011 and the film, as well as this featurette, is dedicated to his memory. He was a great actor and will be missed.
- Audio Commentary by Director Matt Piedmont, Writer Andrew Steele & Star of the Film Will Ferrell
Overall the bonus materials here are not the most lengthy but they do manage to total up to around 46 minutes, they’re all presented in HD and prove to be both funny and informative at the same time. Plus you get an audio commentary which is definitely worth checking out. It does suck that they didn’t include a digital copy or DVD of the film but at the same time that cuts down on the price of the release which I’m sure we’re all actually pleased about. This is an alright set of supplemental material and will leave fans of the film somewhat pleased.
Blu-ray Disc packaging:
NOTE: The full-sized 1920×1080 files are in a .PNG file format and uncompressed. Please be patient with the slow loading times, keep in mind these files are at least 1MB (1 megabyte) in size each.