If you want the bottom line, here it is: I went into the movie with low expectations, but was surprised that it was funny, not racist, and well done.
In the film, Ferrell speaks entirely in Spanish, and I have to give him props for doing so well and not stooping to the level of “look at the funny white guy who can’t speak Spanish” jokes. As a matter fact, the movie was surprisingly devoid of the kinds of jokes where gringos make fun of Mexicans via brownfacing, or doing bad imitations of Mexicans.
What I did find hilarious were the cheesy 1970s action movie jokes, the classic “Will Ferrell acting like Will Ferrell” jokes, the awkward laughs and silences, both Diego Luna and Gael García Bernal acting out narco stereotypes, and a bunch of other jokes. I didn’t expect to laugh so much, but the sheer ridiculousness of this film, and the fact that it doesn’t take itself seriously, found me irritating the other audience members with my cackling.
Ferrell was hilarious, but I also have to give García Bernal props for portraying a drug dealer. And what really surprised me was how the female lead Genesis Rodriguez did not play the typical helpless female. She was definitely sultry and sexy, but even when she was in a situation where she should have been needy, she stood on her own. That made a fan out of me.
Others were disappointed in the movie, perhaps they expected more. I’m glad I went to see it.
I recommend this movie, keeping in mind that it’s a cheesy and funny film, but it’s not going to blow you out of the water. It’s also important to note that a lot of Latinos got work making this movie, which made back more than one-third of its budget opening week.
Go enjoy and let us know what you think!