The House (2017)
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Critic Reviews for The House
A dark, startlingly bloody journey into the bitter, empty, broken heart of the American middle class, a blend of farce and satire built on a foundation of social despair.
It's all meant to be wild and crazy, but somehow it seems simultaneously nasty and dull.
Instead of writing actual characters, they've hired a gaggle of beloved comedians to do bits based on stereotype and persona, and have concocted a cockamamie suburban crime story that manages to be both bizarre and incredibly thin.
There's more character development (and more believable plot turns) in a typical "Saturday Night Live" sketch.
Audience Reviews for The House
It's got an appealing premise and many funny people attached, so why is The House such a shoulder-shrug of a comedy? Will Ferrell and Amy Poehler open a casino in a sleepy suburb to try and make enough dough to send their daughter to the college of her dreams. Ultimately, it's just too safe and expected. There are plenty of jokes about the couple trying to adopt the mafia thuggery they've seen in popular movies. The set pieces feel underdeveloped and quick to end on strangely violent notes, including a running gag of physical harm coming to one of the daughter's friends. Ferrell and Poehler don't have strong characters to play, so when the scenes go long, as they often do, you feel like they're just throwing whatever improv riffs they can to see what sticks. It gets tedious. The depiction of this reality also leads to difficult questions. They didn't lose their child's college fund through some swindle; they just never saved, always assuming their daughter would earn a scholarship. They also have never heard about student loans, which every person is guaranteed access to. We also don't see the ramifications of Ferrell and Poehler fleecing their neighbors of hundreds of thousands of dollars. Wouldn't that have a deleterious effect on a small suburb? It should at least create more conflict. The movie jumps directly from the parents deciding they will open a casino to having an open casino. It feels like we skipped a whole act of valuable material. How did they hire these people? Where did they get the capital? I think a major mistake was having such a select number of characters. This premise deserved to be an ensemble comedy with each character contributing in some fashion. Jason Mantzoukas (TV's The League) is the funniest resource the film has and I knew at least when he was on screen that I had the best chance for laughter. I may be heartless but I found the daughter to be a simpering, annoying character. What teenager doesn't have or desire an independent life outside his or her parents? She doesn't seem worth all the trouble. The House finished filming around January 2016, which means it's been a long edit to find as much funny as they could with the available footage. I think they either ran out of time or just gave up. Nate's Grade: C-
Summer is meant for frivolous laughs and in many ways The House delivers on that template. It is light, frothy and sometimes funny, although you often feel the strain the actors have to carry to lift the below par script up to a different level. The story is so thinly realized, it will seem downright random to anyone who missed the trailers and commercials to the film. Amy and Will have had better chemistry elsewhere, as they seem to be awkwardly maneuvering the poor script with their typically agreeable screen presence. Luckily, the film's scant running time whizzes by fast enough. One just wishes Poehler and Ferrell would have been paired up with something more engagingly funny. Maybe next time. Rating: 52
Don't be hoping for this film to be one of the greatest they have ever pulled out because by view, you were only looking at its poster and/or trailer which otherwise looks better than the film itself.
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