Originally written on Extra Pine Tar  |  Last updated 8/14/14

Over the past week I’ve watched two Will Ferrell movies that I’d never seen before and they could not have been more different. Casa de mi Padre was perhaps the most ridiculous concept comedy I’ve ever seen. After it was over I wasn’t sure if what I just saw was a) funny b) strange or c) both. Most likely it was choice “c,” but I’m still not completely sure.

Like most Ferrell movies, the more I see Casa de mi Padre I’ll notice new little things or appreciate the humor more. That’s the way it goes with him these days. We’ve become so accustomed to being completely blown away by his comedy that anything short of Anchorman is considered a disappointment. In reality, Ferrell is probably just bored with it all. How else can you explain going out and making a movie with the audio visual equipment that was used on Westerns in the early 50′s? And then on top of that, doing the entire movie is in Spanish.

You’ve got to give some credit for the confidence it takes to try and pull this off, but at the same time – how hard is it to make a movie that your fans will hate when you’ve been as successful as Will Ferrell has been? Even his serious movies I’ve given a chance and come out of them saying, “Well, that wasn’t awful. A little slow moving, but not bad.”

Comedy can be a strange thing. People come to expect a certain image or brand from a comedian, whether they are a stand up guy or an actor. If a comedian tries to change things up or break away from what made them famous then many people tend to turn on them, call them a sell out and attack them for trying their hand in other genres. Inevitably, the actor’s career fizzles to the point that movies like Mr. Popper’s Penguins seem like the right choice. On the other hand, if a comedian sticks with their bread and butter, never evolving from what originally made them famous – then we are doomed to a career that only puts out things like Grown Ups (1 and 2), That’s My Boy and Jack and Jill.

Will Ferrell has broken away from the Jim Carrey route and has begun to show strong signs of Adam Sandler syndrome. A horrific disease that, much like Lou Gehrig’s disease, has been brought to the limelight by it’s most famous sufferer. The scientific name is ******************-itis. Which basically means you have so much money, and have such a built in fan base, that all you do is make movies with your boys and smoke weed.

And while that sounds awesome and I completely get it – Will Ferrell needs to stop right now.

At this stage in his career he’s still making funny movies – movies that are comparable to Mr. Deeds and Anger Management – but if Ferrell keeps up at this pace he’ll be making his own Grown Ups movie with Vince Vaughn and one of the Wilson brothers by 2015. It wouldn’t be as good as it sounds, trust me. Especially if Owen Wilson has been feeling a little down lately.

So just to make it clear – I thought The Campaign was absolutely fine. When it’s on HBO in a few months I’ll certainly watch it and laugh my ass off at certain parts.

Zach Galifinakis was really good as the marginally-gay Marty Huggins. His whole family dynamic with his plus-sized wife and husky kids was all very funny. The two campaign managers, played by Jason Sudeikis and Dylan McDermott, were both really good. Hell, even Dan Akroyd and John Lithgow were not that bad as the evil, big money corporation owning Motch brothers.

There really is a lot to like about this movie. I’m just not sure if I’m liking where Will Ferrell is heading with his movies. He’s so much more talented than a half-ass combination of Ricky Bobby and his George Bush impersonation.

Who knows? I could just have blinders on for the release of Anchorman 2. I’m sure, just like Mr. Deeds and Anger Management, the more I see The Campaign – and even Casa de mi Padre – the more I’ll like them. Because chances are if Will Ferrell thinks something is funny… it is.

EPT Grade: B-


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