Ferrell speaks about absurd comedy ‘Casa de mi Padre’

Will Ferrell’s new movie “Casa de mi Padre” serves as a parody of classic telenovelas, complete with dramatic and cheesy dialogue, poor set designs and theatrical costumes. Since Ferrell is not a native Spanish-speaker, the film is an awkward yet entertaining 84 minutes for the audience.

The all-Spanish dialogue hindered Ferrell, who plays Armando, from going above and beyond the script, something he is well-known for in almost all of his comedies.

“I didn’t want the joke of the film to be that I spoke Spanish poorly,” Ferrell said in a conference call. “I had drastically reduced improvisation so I had to rely on little cynical moments and reaction and things like that.”

Ferrell is the only non Spanish-speaking actor in the film, but he still impresses audiences with the fluidity of his lines though his accent is not always perfect. Even alongside native Spanish speakers actors Diego Luna and Pedro Armendáriz Jr., Ferrell’s Spanish sounds like a decent attempt.

He continued, “We wrote the script in English first and then translated it, so I always had an exact comprehension of what I was saying.”

The telenovela theme actually sits well with Ferrell’s famous sarcasm. As with his previous films “Step Brothers” and “Anchorman,” Ferrell related that he likes the audience to be stunned by the absurdity of his words. In “Casa de mi Padre,” Ferrell still attacks his audience with sarcasm, but in a different way.

He said that just like in “Anchorman,” the cast had to throw all the rules out the window in order to entertain.

“The whole telenovelas style and genre is so over-the-top. It’s fairly easy to mimic,” he said. “I just knew the more dramatic I could be, the more serious I could be, would probably play funny.”

The film captures Ferrell’s outrageous sense of humor well. Mexican stereotypes are fulfilled and exaggerated with every drug lord having cigarettes hanging from their mouths in every scene — sometimes even two. Ferrell’s laughable sex scene with the luscious Sonia (Genesis Rodriguez) is just to be expected of the actor.

“It would be hysterical to me if this movie became a little cult hit and we made a sequel or a little series of them,” Ferrel said.

The film has countless humorous scenes. At one point, Armando has a strange encounter with an omniscient white panther after the dreaded drug dealer Onza (Gael Garcia Bernal) shoots him.

“One of the scenes that makes me laugh is when we go to The Pond of the Seven Tears, and we are on that ridiculous set that looks terrible ... Genesis’s line is, ‘This is the most beautiful place I have ever seen.’ I just love that scene when we are having this romantic talk and it’s just a little pond,” he said.

“That, and anytime you can talk to a gigantic white panther is always a plus,” he added.

When asked if he would ever do another foreign language film again, Ferrell joked, “I don’t know. There are, like, a billion Chinese. They’re the next market to conquer.”

American audiences and Ferrell’s die-hard fans will be pleased with the ridiculous film that displays an ambitious effort on Ferrell’s part to try out a difficult premise. Though audiences should not expect “Anchorman” success with this movie, Ferrell does not let fans down. His bad accent and unique sense of humor make the film an eye-roller — but in a good way.

“Casa de mi Padre” is in theaters March 16.

 

Reach the reporter at jocelyn.gee@asu.edu

 

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