I have never been a fan of Will Farrell movies, but every once in a while, he has some that I enjoyed. The Campaign, The Lego Movie, Daddy’s Home (third act really saved this one), Megamind, Stranger Than Fiction. However, most of them are film that I really dislike. I wondered which camp The House would fall into.
Having seen it, I wonder no longer.
This is terrible.
Will Farrell plays Scott, whom is married to Kate (Amy Poehler) and they have a daughter Alex (Ryan Simpkins) who is ready to go to college. She has applied to her dream school of Buckley University and is accepted. Scott and Kate are over the moon, but discover soon after that they do not have the money for tuition. The pair, along with their loser friend Frank (Jason Mantzoukas) start an underground, illegal casino to raise the money for her college.
This film is just unfunny. There may be a chuckle or two, here or there, but nothing that can sustain itself over the course of the movie. It has three characters just going over the top to try and make the ridiculous situation worth the time, and they fail consistently. The only real laugh I got was from the bloopers during the end credits with Jeremy Renner (who appears ever so slightly in a cameo). Without the blooper, this Renner cameo would be wasted.
With most comedies, failures in the script or the plot can be forgiven if the movie makes you laugh, and this just does not do it. Because the laughter is so sparse, you can’t help but wonder why these characters are doing the stupid things that they are doing. There are strange and unlikely plot contrivances that feel as if they were added to the story to give it something more to do than just be a series of scenes that lacked continuity. Nick Kroll showed up as Bob, a city government official whose part becomes important nearing the third act. The actions of the local cop (Rob Huebel) was impossible to believe. The guests of the casino were constantly yelling and acting like morons, including poor Kenneth from Speechless (actor Cedric Yarbrough). These are all things I have to think about because I was not spending my time laughing.
I did appreciate the relationship between Scott and Kate and their daughter. It portrayed them as a loving family who enjoyed their time together, albeit weird time (watching The Walking Dead as a family? Product placement?) The familial connection may not have been realistic, but it was kind of nice.
Jason Mantzoukas does have a few good moments of humor, most of which are already in the trailer. The rest of the time, it feels like he, along with Farrell and Poehler, are trying too hard to make the ridiculousness around them funny and it comes off more as a desperation.
Unfortunately, this falls into the category of Zoolander 2, Anchorman 2, The Other Guys, Blades of Glory, Bewitched, (the first two acts of) Daddy’s Home, Starsky and Hutch, Casa de mi Padre as films starring Will Farrell that you can forget about.