I entered the screening of Will Ferrell's newest film "Casa de mi Padre" with a steely face and a mind prepared for the worst. I am not a Will Ferrill fan.


The last thing he did that I found decent was "Everything Must Go" (2010). Before that, you have to go all the way back to "Stranger Than Fiction" (2006) - both of which feature a dryer more sedate Ferrell.


So I was more than prepared for this to be more of the same, especially with one of the tag lines claiming it was the funnest movie ever spoken in Mexican. I, like most was ready to hear every offensive joke about our neighbors to the South that had ever been conceived.

I was informed that great care was taken if Ferrell's usage of the Spanish language - that he pronounce everything correctly. Because, that was part of the gag. To his credit, he does an excellent job with the linguistics; it was flawless.


But would it be funny? After all this is a story basically about the viscous drug cartels of Mexico, something we hear far to much about. And, in typical Ferrell manner, the film will make light of the violence.


Ferrell plays Armando, the idiot youngest son of a Mexican rancher. He hangs out two ranch hands Manuel and Esteban (Adrian Martinez and Efren Ramirez) who are equally incompetent. they observe a murder on the ranch by the local drug lord Onza (Gael Garcia Bernal) and turn and run. Onza is looking at taking over the property.


Seemingly to the rescue Armando's older brother Raul (Diego Luna) returns with his fiance Sonia (Genesis Rodriguez) to get married and to carry out his own nefarious deals involving drugs. Soon, as you can imagine, a drug war breaks out with Armando in the middle as a vital key to saving the ranch. But remember, he is an idiot.

This is not a complex story, again in keeping with the Ferrell tradition. But he has brought on board some interesting talent. We saw Luna in "Milk", "Open Range" and most recently in "Contraband"; he is one of Mexico's biggest stars. Ernesto, Ramirez, Bernal, and Martinez are all veteran actors and well respected in the Spanish community. So they had to be okay with the parody.


From that point of view I, like many of my colleagues were of course looking for some meat in the story.. justification for having such talent - almost forgetting that this a Ferrell vehicle written by SNL alum Andrew Steele.


So I, like most of the audience was blindsided by the humor. I'm sorry... stupid humor. Humor that comes at you from nowhere and forces you to laugh. Worse yet... laugh out loud!


And while it wasn't necessarily the humor of the script... it was the humor of the production itself. The animals, specifically the use stuffed animals occasional subbing for real ones. The use, and then reuse, of the same background scene like a live action Hanna Barbara cartoon. Overt use of squibs that mock classic films like "The Wild Bunch" and "Scarface".


Oh, the silliness you are in for regardless of how much you try not to laugh.


"Casa De Mi Padre" is a stupidly funny film that you may try to contain yourself... but you will lose. It is politically insensitive and socially irresponsible; but terribly funny.   -- GEOFF BURTON