Stop me if you’ve heard this movie plot before: Parents desperate for money do some stupid shit for their kid and everything comes up roses in the end.
The House isn’t reinventing the proverbial movie wheel here, but the new Will Ferrell/Amy Poehler comedy will definitely have you laughing.
To set the scene, Ferrell and Poehler, who play Scott and Kate Johansen, are ready to send their 18-year-old daughter, Alex (Ryan Simpkins), off to Bucknell University, which is her dream school. There is a lot of excitement when Alex receives her acceptance letter and yelling into the webcam on Alex’s laptop. Who’s watching them? We have no idea, but that’s not important.
The important thing, and the entire premise of the movie, is that they have no money to send their daughter to Bucknell. The scholarship that would have paid for her tuition and other fees was canceled, and apparently Alex – as smart as she is – didn’t apply for any other scholarships.
So, what do the cash-strapped parents do? They take their down-on-his-luck friend, Frank – played beautifully by the always insane Jason Mantzoukas – to Las Vegas. After winning enough money to pay for Alex’s tuition, they of course lose it in one roll of the dice. But the idea to start their own underground casino was born.
As Scott and Kate predictably spin out of control, hijinks and hilarity, along with a myriad of movie references, ensue.
Director Andrew Jay Cohen, who co-wrote the screen play, is playing the same tune he did in Neighbors, Neighbors 2 and Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates. While it strikes a familiar chord, with unnecessary drug use and a far-fetched story that gets more ridiculous by the minute, The House is something Cohen’s last three movies are not – funny.
From start to finish, The House is full of inappropriate humor – the way only Ferrell and Poehler can deliver it: Loud and over the top. But The House doesn’t try to be anything it isn’t. Even when somebody says something in the film that is ridiculous and even dumb, someone else calls that person out on it. The movie is telling you some of its jokes are dumb, and that is something that should be applauded.
The House is ridiculously implausible and inappropriate, sure, but it’s also hilariously entertaining.