The son of a wealthy Mexican landowner, Armando Alvarez (Will Ferrell) is a simple man who is only entrusted with small tasks around the ranch. When his brother Raul (Diego Luna) returns home with a plan to bring in more money, Armando is initially excited about the proposition despite his jealousy over Raul’s new fiancé, Sonia (Genesis Rodriguez). Soon, however, it becomes apparent that Raul’s plan involves the drug trade, drawing unwanted interest from both the local cartel leader Onza (Gael Garcia Bernal) and a corrupt DEA agent (Nick Offerman). With the family’s legacy in danger and his own life on the land, Armando must become the man neither he nor his father thought he could ever be.
Told entirely in Spanish, Casa de mi Padre plays out exactly the way it is intended, as a mix of Spanish telenovela melodrama and Will Ferrell’s manchild foolishness. There are few surprises here and at times this film becomes tiresome but then again, there’s something to be said for committing to a bit and sticking with it religiously, and in this way Casa is a success. I half expected Casa to turn into a Scary Movie-like parody but instead Ferrell and the rest take great pains to approach the subject matter with a seriousness that it really doesn’t deserve. In doing so, Ferrell sells the movie enough to make one buy in, at least enough to stay relatively interested in a low budget, low expectation movie. If Casa were a car and Ferrell the dealer, you wouldn’t buy it as a brand new, turbo charged Mustang but you could grab onto it as a used Camry with reasonable mileage. And really, that’s all one should expect from a $6 million indie film built around the idea of Will Ferrell speaking Spanish, no?