“Mi nombre es Armando Alvarez.” Will Ferrell’s new Spanish-language film that spoofs old Westerns and Spanish telenovelas is funny and down right agonizing at times. “If something sounds like Spanish, that’s because it is, man,” says a disclaimer at the start of the movie. Yes, Will Ferrell and 95% of the cast speak fluent Spanish through the whole movie. Now when you think of Will Ferrel that’s probably the last thing you are expecting, a movie in which he speaks entirely in Spanish. But he pulls it off, only speaking English once or twice, barely, throughout the whole film. You probably haven’t seen the trailer, so check it out:
When I think of comedy acting from Ferrel I think of Old School, Talladega Nights, Anchorman or even Elf. But the last thing I would expect is a full 84 minutes of an all-English-subtitled movie. I must admit, I did laugh out loud whenever Ferrel would say “Mi nombre es Armando Alvarez,” because it just sounds funny coming from Will Ferrell since he is really trying to be serious.
Some scenes in the movie were intentionally made extra cheesy for the full telenovelas effect, most notably a street scene where the director (Piedmont) films a model set with tiny buildings and cars. It reminded me of a cheaply made Godzilla movie set.
When Will Ferrel buddies up with writer Andrew Steele and director Matt Piedmont (former Saturday Night Live writers), greatness is expected. Yet the movie fell short of gut-busting laughter. There are moments where you can feel like they are trying to pull the laughter out of you, and I admit, I did laugh at some strange-but-funny ass-grabbing jokes, but those too were sub-standard even for Ferrell’s odd sense of humor.
I so Badly wanted him to jump into the role of Ricky Bobby to save the movie halfway through, but knew it would continue to be all in Spanish with its flimsy plot that felt like the movie was trying way too hard to be over-the-top funny.
What expectations should you have going into this movie? If you like Will Ferrell, you’ll probably dig this movie. I just kept waiting for the punchline but never really felt it, and this is coming from someone who grew up with Spanish telenovelas on constant rotation at his grandmother’s home growing up as a kid.
I will say the few things the movie has going for it is the supporting actors that helped me trudge my way through this, with the likes of Hispanic actors like Diego Luna (Y Tu Mamá También), Efren Ramirez (Napoleon Dynamite), and a new and very talented actress, Genesis Rodriguez (Man on a Ledge). They all try their best to help save this film, but not even the comedic performance of Nick Offerman (Parks and Recreation), who plays a corrupt DEA agent, can save this over-the-top parody. I give it 1.5 out of 5 Nerdskulls for trying something new and different.