Plot: Scott (Will Ferrell) and Kate (Amy Poehler) are about to send their daughter off to college, so her future looks quite bright. She was accepted to her first choice school and thanks to an annual town scholarship for gifted students, her tuition will be even covered. But when city councilman Bob (Nick Kroll) decides to cancel the college fund program in order to build the city a new pool, Scott and Kate realize they’re in trouble, as they can’t afford the tuition. They’re determined to raise the cash somehow, even trying to win the money on a casino trip with their wild friend Frank (Jason Mantzoukas), but bad luck foils that plan. But then Frank has an idea, to turn his house into a casino and let the locals gamble and have a good time, which could cover the tuition and help him get his wife back. Soon a neighborhood is open for business, but can three suburban dwellers run a real life casino?
Entertainment Value: The House looks and feels like a Comedy Central original, as it features a cast of mostly comedians seen on the channel and lacks a certain big budget polish, but it is solid fun at times. The story is thin, as some folks open a home casino and all kinds of chaos unfolds, but it allows for all kinds of outlandish situations and weird comedic potential. While the movie gives off a tv movie vibe, the cast turns in some good work and without question, the performances carry this one. Will Ferrell is his usual self, Amy Poehler brings her A game, and Jason Mantzoukas is as unhinged as ever, so the leads were well chosen. But the supporting cast shines too, with Nick Kroll, Lennon Parham, Cedric Yarbrough, Rob Huebel, Allison Tolman, Andrea Savage, and even Jeremy Renner in a small role. The colorful ensemble really livens up the movie and ensures even routine scenes have some flavor, making the most of the material across the board. I think The House is funnier than it should be thanks to the cast, as the writing is a little on the inconsistent side, but entertainment is entertainment, right? I wouldn’t call it a comedy classic, but if you’re a fan of the cast involved, The House offers up some solid laughs.
A scene at the casino offers a quick glimpse at some stripper boobs, but it is a fast shot and that’s all the nakedness. The bloodshed is higher than you’d expect, with a wild finger removal that involves geysers of the red stuff and an arm lopped off that leads to a crazy series of events. The excessive blood is played for absurd comedic effect, with Ferrell struggling to reattach the finger while drowning in bloodshed, or the mishaps when he axes off an arm and all hell breaks loose. The dialogue is mostly random and outlandish, but usually delivers in terms of humor. A lot of the lines seem in the moment and a little off, which adds to the humor, I think. A good amount of quotable and off the wall exchanges, with a focus on ridiculous or nonsensical lines, which some might dislike, but I had fun with. This one gets a little crazy for sure, but it such a slapstick tone, it dampens it to an extent. But we still have some wild moments and the cast really runs with the absurd nature of the material. The girl fight was fun, plus the movie is just packed with colorful characters doing odd things. For a mainstream comedy, this one pulls out some solid craziness.
Overall Insanity: 4/10