Will Ferrell is an extremely committed actor. I personally liked him the most in more dramatic fare like his fantastic turns in Stranger Than Fiction or Everything Must Go. Those would certainly see him the furthest removed from his Saturday Night Live days. Yet there is still that same sense of committment and understanding of character in any of his roles. Think of the parodies and characters that he created with Adam McKay in their four films- Anchorman, Talladega Nights, Step Brothers, and The Other Guys. You still see an actor who is completely believable as his character when part of the joke is the ridiculousness and absurdity that this character treats as just everyday life in a sort of 'wink-wink' to the audience.
Casa de Mi Padre is another committed job by Ferrell as he plays the simple Mexican rancher Armando Alvarez (the film is mostly in Spanish by the way). Armando is completely oblivious to the drug dealing ways of his brother Raul (Diego Luna) and the disappointment of their father (the late Pedro Armendariz Jr.). Raul brings home a beautiful fiancee named Sonia (Genesis Rodriguez) who Armando falls in love with at first sight, but she used to belong to the drug lord Onza (Gael Garcia Bernal) and things go from there. Does this sound like a soap opera? Well that is because this is pretty much a parody of a telenovela or at least how they are commonly perceived. Bernal, Luna, and Armendariz Jr. are serious actors and Rodriguez proves herself (at least in comparison to her dreadful performance in Man on a Ledge) and that completely helps the 'wink-wink' believability in the same manner as pairing Ferrell with actors like John C. Reilly and Mark Wahlberg.
The film is directed by Matt Piermondt whom Ferrell and McKay have worked with through their website FunnyOrDie.com and their committal to parodies on that website shows through here where they've created a cheap looking soap opera-ey movie. The special effects are purposefully bad and the backgrounds are noticeably fake. The joke here is funny, but it gets old pretty fast. We get it, the film is meant to be over-dramtized, but this happens to the point where it actually stops being a comedy or even funny. It certainly gets better as time goes on (and a hilarious soundtrack kicks in), but the film proves to be more amusing than it is actually hilarious. Then again, perhaps the fact that it isn't that much of a comedy is in fact part of the joke. I'm sure some will appreciate it, but I was constantly wanting more and had to wait quite a while for that wish fufillment.