Casinos! Money! Hijinx!
BQB here with a review of “The House.”
This one has been getting bad reviews and honestly, I can see why. When you’ve got Will Ferrell, Amy Poehler and Jason Mantzoukas of “Raffi” from “The League” fame, you’d expect better, but if you did, you were disappointed.
The premise is simple enough. Will and Amy are parents to Alex, who has just been accepted to the university of her dreams. Alas, when an expected scholarship falls through, Will and Amy realize they have done Jack Squat when it comes to saving so…yeah I know most people might take out a second mortgage, maybe ask the kid to get a part-time job and extend college out by an extra year or two to cover the cost but ok, they create an illegal, underground casino right in the middle of the neighborhood instead.
Their partner in crime is Frank (Mantzoukas), a degenerate gambler who has lost his wife due to the debt he has racked up. Together, the trio works to make their underground casino the tightest club in their little town, making boku bucks so Will and Amy can send Alex to college and Frank can save his home from foreclosure and get his wife back.
Along the way, the trio comes into contact with typical casino problems. Cheaters try to game the system. Mobsters pay a visit. Soccer moms engage in fist fights. The usual nonsense.
Nick Kroll play’s the film’s villain, a city councilman who has hatched a scheme to abscond with the trio’s dough.
There’s a lot of stupidity in this film, and not the good, fun kind. My first reaction to Will and Amy’s money woes is that they appear to have a pretty sweet, above average house, so they probably could get a loan to help their kid out. Also, it seems unlikely that a family who had it together enough to maintain a sweet house like that didn’t have any kind of savings but ok, comedies break the rules and require us to suspend disbelief.
My rule if a comedy is good? Did it make me laugh? Yes. I laughed one time, when Amy made an inappropriate gesture with a small hand torch. Other than that, it was a pretty predictable comedy with a lot of flat jokes.
All I can say is with three top notch comedians, I expected more.
STATUS: Borderline shelf-worthy. Don’t bother seeing it at the theater, but it’s worth a rental if you have nothing better to do.