Casa de mi Padre

[2.5 stars] [IMDb Link] [Amazon Link]

This movie must have seemed like a great idea to someone: hey, let's make a movie that looks like a low-budget Mexican western. Including everybody speaking Spanish. Cheap special effects. Amateurish cinematography. Ludicrous dialog and a boilerplate plot.

Oh, and we'll get Will Ferrell to play the hero.

The problem being: stretching that idea out to a movie length. And it's just not that great an idea. Ferrell plays Armando, the cowardly, dim-witted, less-favored son of a local rancher. He hangs out with his buddies, and the only blips in his mostly-happy existence is the occasional drug lord using their land to kill a squealer.

But Armando's brother Raul shows up with his gorgeous fiancé Sonia; he seems to have some sort of relationship with the aforementioned drug lord. I predict bullets will be a-flyin'.

There's a lot of Saturday Night Live DNA at work here. In addition to Ferrell, Both the writer (Andrew Steele) and director (Matt Piedmont) used to work for the show. Unfortunately, some of the show's flaws tag along with them. The movie is not without laughs, but some gags just lie there, others go on way after the laughs have died down.

Abduction of Eden

[3.5 stars] [IMDb Link] [Amazon Link]

Netflix has this as Abduction of Eden; it's also known as just plain Eden. Warning: it deals with a very scummy, nasty activity, the kidnapping and forced prostitution of girls. It is the fictionalized account of Chong Kim (she has a story credit on the movie), who claims to have been a victim of that game in the 1990s. As with any "fictionalized" account, we're left guessing at how much of what we're watching actually happened, how much is self-serving slant, and how much is made up movie magic.

So it's probably best to just judge it as a movie. On that basis, it's not bad.

"Eden" is the assigned pseudonym of the movie's heroine, a young Korean-American girl growing up in the southwest. She is chafing a bit against her strict mother, helping out at the family store. One fateful night, armed with a fake ID, she decides to kick up her heels a bit at a local bar. She's temporarily smitten by a cute guy … who turns out to be no darn good at all.

Before you know it, she's cooped up with a bunch of other girls who are regularly pimped out to perverts in nearby Vegas. The people running the show are ruthless, led by a local lawman (played by Beau Bridges) who (we're shown) will casually murder anyone who might obstruct the smooth function of his lucrative side occupation.

Worse, the operation depends on young girls. Once they're no longer convincing jailbait, their usefulness goes to zero, and they can't just be set free, so…

Eden figures this out, and (in an interesting plot twist) works to make herself into a more valued employee in the organization. Not exactly a Horatio Alger story.

The movie is pretty well made, the actress playing Eden, Jamie Chung, is quite good. Still, you might want to wash your soul out with soap after watching the movie.