Run time: 84 mins
In Theaters: Friday 11th May 2012
Box Office USA: $5.9M
Distributed by: Pantelion Films
Production compaines: Lions Gate, Gary Sanchez Productions, NALA Films
Contactmusic.com: 3 / 5
Rotten Tomatoes: 43%
Fresh: 43 Rotten: 58
IMDB: 5.5 / 10
Director: Matt Piedmont
Screenwriter: Andrew Steele
Starring: Will Ferrell as Armando Alvarez, Gael García Bernal as Onza, Génesis Rodríguez as Sonia, Diego Luna as Raul, Efren Ramirez as Esteban, Nick Offerman as Agent Parker, Mariann Gavelo as Esmeralda, Adrian Martinez as Manuel, Alejandro Patino as Hector, Pedro Armendáriz, Jr. as Miguel Ernesto Alvarez
Armando (Ferrell) is the second son of Miguel (Armendariz), a rancher who dotes on his city-slicker son Raul (Luna) even though he might be a drug dealer. But problems arise with local cartel kingpin Onza (Garcia Bernal) when Raul decides to marry Onza's niece Sonia (Rodriguez). Miguel is delighted, but Armando and his farmhand pals (Ramirez and Martinez) know that big trouble is brewing. Sure enough, an American DEA agent (Offerman) is prowling around with a Federale (Urrego). And if everyone kills each other, it'll make their jobs easier.
The filmmakers raise some startlingly serious themes then ignore them to poke fun at clumsy Hollywood attempts to mimic Mexican exploitation movies. So the gags are pretty nonstop, lampooning low-budget filmmaking in which no one has time to worry about continuity or credibility. So we can constantly see just how cheesy the sets are, with badly painted backdrops and clunky effects (the pivotal white lion is a Jim Henson Company creation).
And of course the film constantly plays on the fact that Ferrell isn't remotely Latino. That said, his Spanish isn't bad, and his mispronunciations are woven right into the story. He also has terrific chemistry with the bombshell-like Rodriguez, and their love scene is ridiculously hilarious. Meanwhile, Luna and Garcia Bernal tear up the scenery as two men who really wish they were Al Pacino in Scarface, spewing the exaggerated dialog as if their lives depended on it.
In the end, the film is far to corny and stupid to linger in the memory. It's also profoundly misogynistic, with stereotypical bimbos populating the backgrounds of almost every scene playing, pointedly, maids and prostitutes.
But just when we start worrying about what the filmmakers are trying to say, something sublimely silly happens on screen to keep us chuckling. It's a cheap trick, but it works.