CASA DE MI PADRE

Muy bueno.  Por cierto… magnifico. With his latest movie, Will Ferrell is cementing his reputation as a major American humorist — and doing it here in quasi-pidgin Spanish. What might have only been worth a brief Funny or Die sketch is credibly expanded into a (short) feature thanks to Ferrell’s perfectly cast co-stars, including Gael Garcia Bernal as the dapper chain-smoking villain, here reunited with his Y TU MAMA TAMBIEN pal Diego Luna playing Ferrell’s ne’er-do-well brother. Add in Efren Ramirez (NAPOLEON DYNAMITE’S “Pedro”) and Adrian Martinez as Ferrell’s sidekicks and the beautiful, sultry Genesis Rodriguez as the siren who turns men to jelly and you have an ensemble capable of walking an exquisitely fine line between parody, satire, and an involving (if deliberately cliched) story. The movie is subtitled, but even if it weren’t you’d have no trouble understanding not only what’s going on, but the jokes as well. And the use of fakery (riding dummy horses, animatronic wild animals, cheesy backdrops for hilarious studio interiors standing in for outdoor scenes) is priceless. Prepare to laugh! — Jeff Schultz

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