Nothing quite says we’re-taking-it-easy-on-this-one-lads like the “affectionate parody”. Usually such projects are an opportunity for coasting stars to live out some inappropriate fantasy under the cloak of the send-up.

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So, much as I like Will Ferrell, the prospect of a film in which he speaks Spanish and spoofs the clichés of Mexican soap opera is a mixed one. The tension is waiting for the exact moment the joke will wear thin, but it never really does. The humour is lazy and easy, but the execution is done with considerable care and effort.

The Mexican telenovella is apparently a mainstay of US cable and their histrionic acting and stories keep Americans entertained if they need a break from flipping through their channels looking for something worth watching. Of course, none of that means anything to us over here but it does not especially matter because the film is serving up the kind of jokes that are standard to any bad movie send-up – the fake scenery, bad acting, missing scenes and clichéd plotting.

It is less Acorn Antiques more an improbable meeting place for Benny Hill and Grindhouse era Robert Rodriquez. Christina Aguilera belting out a Bond-style title song over the credit sequence indicates the film is as much a spoof of action movies as soap operas.

Ferrell plays the idiot honourable farmer who lives in the shadow of his big shot older brother (Luna).There is delight when he returns to the ranch with his hot new fiancée (Rodriquez) but his return plunges the family into a bloody conflict with drug baron, Bernal.

There is something inherently funny about Ferrell – with his fair complexion that is an open photocopier away from sunstroke and a physique that is the epitome of Caucasian shapelessness – playing a Mexican. Adrift in among the cast members of Y Tu Mama Tambien and Napoleon Dynamite, he resembles George W. Bush without an entourage on a particularly awkward foreign tour.

CASA DE MI PADRE (15)

Director: Matt Piedmont

Starring: Will Ferrell, Diego Luna, Gael Garcia Bernal, Genesis Rodriquez, Efren Ramirez and Adrian Martinez

Length: 85 mins

***

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