Usually when I review comedies I start off by complaining about how disappointing they tend to be these days. Sometimes they manage to prove me wrong (Bad Moms), sometimes they’re not quite as bad as I was expecting (Baywatch). The last time I was seriously annoyed about how bad a comedy was it was Office Christmas Party, but even then that managed to raise a laugh or two. The House though, well that goes way beyond that, taking it to a whole other level by having absolutely no laughs in it at all!
Will Ferrell is Scott, Amy Poehler is his wife Kate. When their daughter Alex gets into the university she wanted, they’re over the moon. Especially as the town runs some kind of scholarship program, paying for one lucky students education each year. This years lucky recipient is due to be Alex but when sleazy city councilman Bob decides to cancel the program in favour of building a huge pool for the town, Scott and Kate need to come up with another way of raising the money. Recently divorced neighbour Frank has a big empty house and between them they hit upon the idea of building a casino in his home, somewhere for the locals to come and spend all their money. Things go well for a while, then things get way out of hand. Cue the opportunity for some riotous, hilarious humour…
Only there’s none of that. It’s riotous, but this is just such a lazily written movie that the humour is non-existent. Featuring a date rape ‘gag’ within the first five minutes(?!) it just gets progressively worse from there. Pointless, nonsensical playground style bickering, name calling and random violence feature heavily throughout in a scatter-gun attempt at trying to raise a laugh. All of this ends up coming across as either poorly written, badly improvised, or both. Even the editing is a total disaster – in one scene Amy Poehler has a guy standing right behind her, cut to another camera and he’s gone, cut back and he’s there again, cut back and he’s gone!
The biggest disappointment about this is the complete waste of talent. Admittedly, Will Ferrell is on a downward spiral anyway since his Anchorman days and the brilliant Step Brothers, but you’d still expect more from him than this. One of my favourite TV shows, Parks and Recreation, stars Amy Poehler as the hilarious Leslie Knope, so I’d expect way more from her too. Even her movie roles haven’t been too bad so far. I guess it just proves that if you’ve got a seriously dud script on your hands, there isn’t really much that anyone can do to fix it. This isn’t just a bad comedy, it’s a bad, bad movie.