The House doesn’t do enough to lend weight to the claim that it always wins.
⭐ ⭐ ½
After both starring in Blades of Glory, The House pairs comedic geniuses Will Ferrell and Amy Poehler together for a raucous suburban comedy about two parents who are struggling to come to terms with their beloved daughter (Ryan Simpkins) departing for college. When a dodgy town council official robs her of a lucrative scholarship, the parents start a casino in their basement (the only logical solution) with the help of their friend Frank (Jason Mantzoukas).
Pairing two Saturday Night Live alumni such as Ferrell and Poehler feels like a slam-dunk on the surface. They make for an undeniably funny duo that pop and whizz around like a loose firecracker, but the freewheeling, improvisational nature of the films means some scenes feel flabby and overplayed. Poehler, in particular, always commits to a bit and doesn’t let up, even if sometimes it is a detriment to that specific scene.
The central premise runs its course fairly quickly – after all, its barely enough plot to cover a 23-minute episode of Community, let alone a feature length picture. However, at just a smidge under 90 minutes, The House doesn’t overstay its welcome and is the perfect Friday night romp to shake off the workweek cobwebs. It’s brief, intermittently funny and shocking enough in parts to give in an edge of outrageousness.
The central duo is likeable enough to carry the film home, even if some of the humour strays too far. That being said, Ferrell seems strangely low-key this time around, nowhere near as outlandish as some of his earlier work like Anchorman, Zoolander or Talladega Nights. Like in Daddy’s Home, he’s almost on autopilot in The House.
There are a couple of cool cameos that plump up the fun – Alexandra Daddario and, strangely, Jeremy Renner as a rival casino boss. I wish I had more to comment on but The House is just one of those fleeting experiences that flies in one ear and out the other – you probably won’t be reciting quotes at your friends in the car home, let alone in a week or two.
The House is available in Australia June 29
Image courtesy of Roadshow Films