When Will Ferrell and Amy Poehler – two regulars of the USA’s Saturday Night Live, and stars of numerous great comedies – get together, hilarity is expected to ensue. By no fault of the pair, The House boasts, instead, an unfunny script and, at best, three or four funny moments. While similar comedies such as Get Hard and Step Brothers garner appreciation and laughs all round, The House falls short on humour.
In this Breaking Bad-esque scenario, Scott (Ferrell) and Kate (Poehler) are suburban parents who, when the town councillor (Nick Kroll) takes away their daughter’s college scholarship to instead build a town pool, try to raise the money with their gambling-addicted friend, Frank (Jason Mantzoukas) via an illegal underground casino in Frank’s home. The situation, as expected, accelerates, resulting in drugs, fight clubs and accidental torture.
The characters are unmemorable, clichéd and seem under-written. The local cop is lovable and stupid, the town councillor is corrupt and the townspeople are stereotypical caricatures of those that might be found in suburban USA. Alongside bad jokes, which if laugh-out-loud funny could have been its saving grace, the film itself becomes lacklustre, relying on the personalities of Ferrell and Poehler to carry it. The pair’s comedic talent, as well as the slight but obvious attempts to bring light to real-life issues such as college rape and gun law in the USA, is wasted on this average movie.
The House is not, however, without its strengths; the relationship between Scott, Kate and their daughter is heartwarming, for example depicted in a scene where they snuggle down together to watch The Walking Dead. The casino is aesthetically pleasing and the slapstick moments provoke some smiles; but, ultimately, these aren’t enough to make it worth the money or time. Forgettable and sometimes over the top, the audience is left wondering: why not just take out a loan?
The House is released nationwide on 30th June 2017.
Watch the trailer for The House here: