After the town takes away their daughter’s college scholarship, a couple start an illegal casino in their friend’s house to make back the money.
I’ve never really been a big Will Ferrell fan. It’s nothing personal, I just don’t find his particular brand of humor very funny. I did enjoy his turn as Harold Crick in “Stranger Than Fiction,” where he played an IRS auditor who suddenly realizes he is the central character in a novel and only he can hear the narrator’s voice, informing him of where he is in life and what is yet to come. There were some very humorous elements throughout but for the most part, it was a dramatic role and he pulled it off wonderfully. I wish he would do more serious work but he is best known as a comedian so I understand that he sticks with what he’s best at. Just look at Stallone trying his hand at comedy with “Oscar” and “Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot,” he quickly put those two titles in his rear-view mirror, went back to action, and never looked back. Thank God!
“The House,” tells the story of Scott and Kate Johansen (Will Ferrell & Amy Poehler), parents of their beautiful teenage daughter Alex (Ryan Simpkins). She has just graduated high school and is keen on attending Bucknell University and when she is accepted, they are all elated but things quickly go south when Scott and Kate realize they don’t have enough money to send her away. Along with the help of their gambling addict neighbor Frank Theodorakis (Jason Mantzoukas), they set up an underground casino in his now empty house as his wife Raina (Michaela Watkins) has just left him and taken all of their furniture. For a while, things are going fine and all three are making money hand over fist but when a nosey city councilor, Bob Schaeffer (Nick Kroll), hears about their scam, he has them shut down and confiscates all of their money. Unbeknownst to them, Bob is as crooked as they come, having dipped into the city’s budget for his own personal use and is now planning to use their money to cover his tracks. When Officer Chandler (Rob Huebel), the town’s local cop, finds out about Bob’s unscrupulous goings-on at city hall, and that Scott and Kate started the casino so they could send their daughter to university, he teams up with them to bring Bob down and retrieve their money.
The problem with “The House” is that it is the type of movie actors just starting out in their careers would make, not seasoned veterans like Ferrell and Poehler. The jokes fall flat and asides from the occasional chuckle (I counted two), there is absolutely nothing of merit herein. Even Jeremy Renner makes an appearance as a local crime boss but he comes and goes so quickly if you blink, you’ll miss him. I sometimes find myself sitting blankly through a supposed comedy and wonder if I’m turning into a crotchety, cynical old man, but then “Happy Gilmore” comes on and I can’t stop laughing. To each, their own I guess but you are more than welcome to keep “The House.”
Now available on Digital HD and on Blu-ray & DVD Tuesday, October 10th