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Amy Poehler and Will Ferrell are Miscast in Irredeemable Misfire "The House": Review

Film Review: The House

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I have been known to give dumb comedies a pass every once in a while if they make me laugh. If they do their job by being funny, who cares if the film isn’t the greatest. The House is not that type of comedy. The House did not make me laugh once. The House is poorly-made, nonsensical, needlessly violent, all-around terrible excuse for a movie. 

The premise of The House is that suburban parents (played Will Ferrell and Amy Poehler) need money so they can send their daughter to college, so with the help of their friend (Jason Mantzoukas), they open up an illegal casino. It starts off trying to be a satire of suburbia and then shifts to a parody of movies like Casino, but none of it is funny. Part of the problem is it's two majorly miscast leads. Why hire two SNL alumni known for their big, over the top characters to play boring squares? Amy Poehler is someone I have an abundant amount of fondness for, but she has never been worse than she is here. It's an awful performance. On every line reading it feels like she has been directed for maximum unfunniness. Will Ferrell has been pretty hit-or-miss lately, but it is clear he’s most comfortable when playing ridiculous SNL-style characters, not the straight laced boring dad character he plays in The House. The role needed ‘80s era Chevy Chase, not Will Ferrell in the comedic equivalent of a straightjacket. One of the stupidest parts in a movie with a lot of stupid parts is the joke that Ferrell’s character somehow breaks out in sweats at the mere mention of numbers. It makes no sense and is inconsistently used throughout the film. Ferrell and Poehler’s daughter is played by Ryan Simpkins, who looks more like a model than a high school senior. The rest of the film is populated by many, many funny people from TV (including Michaela Watkins, Nick Kroll, Allison Tolman, Cedric Yarbrough, Andy Buckley, Rob Huebel, Lennon Parham, and Sam Richardson) which makes it all the more crazy that none of these people can do anything to elicit a laugh.

First time director Andrew J. Cohen, who co-wrote the script with Brendan O’Brien, fails to do anything interesting visually to try to inject life into the movie. Cohen and O’Brien, whose only other writing credits are the abysmal Neighbors movies and the dreadful Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates, do not give us anything reason to care about the story because they barely clue us in on who these people are. There’s a scene between Ferrell and his boss, but we never even find out what his job is. Early in the film, it is established that the wife of Mantzoukas’ character left him because of his gambling addiction, which apparently is encouraged by Ferrell and Poehler, and never addressed again. That seems like an odd decision. There are a couple of plot threads that I was expecting to be tied together by the end, but end up being just left in the air. Also, the film has ten year old's conception of what the process of paying for college is actually like. Most frustratingly, spoiler alert, is that the movie ends with the Ferrell and Poehler sending their daughter to college with the money they got from the illegal casino. There are no repercussions for their actions and they learn nothing. So what was the point?

One day I hope Amy Poehler finds a movie role worthy of her talents. Until then, do not go see The House. It is not worth your time. It is a bad movie. Go see a good movie, like The Beguiled or Baby Driver instead. 


What did YOU think of The House? Let me know in the comments below!

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