It’s the old adage: when something is horribly, almost absurdly wrong, do you respond by laughing, or crying? In the new movie Casa de mi Padre, the answer is a (mechanized, very fake-looking white jaguar toy) laughing.
Casa de mi Padre is Gael Garcia Bernal and Diego Luna’s psycho-kitsch rant about Mexican drug war mania. Everything about the film is maniacal: the desperation of the comedy, the plastic gleam of the props, the exaggerated accents of the characters.
At points, the kitsch is overkill, and at other points, it’s magical: Will Farrell’s psychedelic spirit trip, led by said fake jaguar playing the role of a Mayan animal god, is crazy and commercial and expertly edited. It’s a yellow brick road down the mental hallway of a director duo gone (temporarily) mad: Aztec Somebodies walk over bloodied wedding cakes, a black-and-white clad Virgen Maria screams in sheer terror, bursting sound barriers and a bag of dried pinto beans.
This pipe dream about a good-hearted rancher who defeats the drug cartels, Gets the Girl, and wins over the American DEA shakes of the laughing, shivering excess of a kid on the wrong side of a sugar rush. It's the teary-eyed scene change switching 31,000 real deaths in Mexico for a fake bloody cowboy shootout. In the Disneyland deserts of Casa de mi Padre, all’s well that ends (mechanically).