Scott and Kate Johansen are in a pickle.
This suburban mom and dad love their college-bound daughter, Alex, to the moon and back, but they haven't got a dime to put toward the girl's college tuition. Not a dime. In fact, Scott is so lousy with numbers and so hopeless when it comes to saving that he actually owes a few bucks to the bank college fund.
They were counting on a scholarship program that their community board hosts every year. But this year, it seems, the board is pouring any extra cash into a massive recreational pool project.
Scott and Kate are desperate. They beg their bosses for money. They threaten bank managers. Nothing works. They even consider selling their bodies on the street for the $50,000 tuition … but can't figure out where they'd come up with the other $49,999.
This duo of depositing dysfunction is so frantic with desperation that it's ready to try any possible solution. So, when the couple's dumped, broke and gambling-addicted pal Frank suggests they use his house to create an underground community casino and solve all their problems, they jump at it.
"The house always wins," Frank trumpets. And who would know that better than a guy with a gigantic gambling problem, right? Hey, if they can figure out a way to tap into Frank's porn and alcohol addictions too, why, they might have a really big money maker.
Scott and Kate's actions throughout the film are ridiculously foolish and senseless. But they do voice their love for each other and express their devotion to their daughter. Alex eventually finds out about Mom and Dad's choices and thanks them for at least wanting to help her.
A neighbor wears a cross necklace.
Frank expands their casino enterprise by turning his pool into a drink and lounge area for the gamblers. We see lots of bikini-clad women exposing cleavage and skin.
Scott and Kate get so worked up and inebriated at one point that they go off into a closet area to have sex (off screen).
Alex and her friends talk about being ready for college date rape. Scott and Kate give their daughter some crude pointers on dealing with sexually aggressive guys. There are jokes about masturbation, sex toys, Frank's porn use and critical bits of private anatomy. Two community board officials have an extramarital sexual affair (again, off screen, though we see them flirt).
Being a broad, farcical slapstick comedy, the violent side of things is played for laughs. That said, Scott does end up wielding a small axe and accidentally lopping off people's body parts a couple of times. Blood spurts profusely. A local mob guy kicks in a door, draws his gun, roughs up several people and ends up stabbing someone with a knife. Someone has a limb cut off and is set on fire in a series of escalating visual gags.
The casino owners also go out and "torture" neighbors in comical ways to get them to pay up on gambling debts (waterboarding a guy with a frozen yogurt machine, for instance). Neighbors bet on several of their friends getting into fist fights. A pair of women batter and throw each other around viciously: Blood spews during their fight and we later see one of the women with badly bruised and contorted facial features. Frank gets punched and smashed down onto a small table. A house is set on fire and burns to the ground.
Crude or Profane Language
Between dialogue and musical soundtracks, we hear well over 65 f-words and 30 s-words. People spit out the word "b--ch" about a dozen times. "H---," "a--" and "d--n" repeatedly make the mix, too. There are crude references to male and female genitalia. God's and Jesus' names are abused a half-dozen times (three of those combining God with "d--n").
Drug and Alcohol Content
Characters guzzle a lot of beer, wine and booze throughout the pic—including scenes at dinner, at parties and in the underground casino. In fact, as Scott, Kate and Frank really get their casino rolling, recreational booze and drugs become a big part of the action.
While under the influence of drugs and alcohol, the casino partners commit violent, aggressive acts they ordinarily wouldn't. Kate smokes so much marijuana that she eventually admits she's addicted to the emotional-numbing effects of the stuff.
Alex and her friends get stoned on weed, too. Scott and Kate give their daughter pointers on how to handle her booze and drug consumption while at school. Frank uses a photoshopped picture showing Kate as a drugged-out prostitute to convince Scott and Kate to be a part of his scheme.
A couple of "high-rollers" from out of town snort cocaine in the casino.
Other Negative Elements
There are visual and verbal gags about public urination, defecation and vomiting. A public official embezzles money. Theft and other crimes are justified and rewarded. Scott and Kate reason that lying is far better than admitting their failure. While stoned, Kate drops her shorts, squats and urinates on their front lawn late one night (key physical parts are kept out of view).
Will Ferell and Amy Poehler are naturally funny people. They're the sorts who can stick a soda cracker in their nose and make an entire table of guests crack-up during dinner. That being the case, Ferell and Poehler will generate at least a laugh or two even in even the most worthless, crude and ridiculously stupid film.
The House is such a film.
It's quite simply a farcical one-joke construct—a silly idea that seems to lurch on with improvisational dizziness like a room full of comedy writers who have consumed far too many adult beverages and don't know it's time to catch an Uber home.
You might consider it to be something of a Saturday Night Live sketch, free of any studio sensors and blown out to a foul-mouthed 88 minutes. You know what? Forget that. I wouldn't suggest you consider it (or should I say gamble on it) at all.
Other Belief Systems
Readability Age Range
Will Ferrell as Scott Johansen; Amy Poehler as Kate Johansen; Jason Mantzoukas as Frank; Ryan Simpkins as Alex Johansen; Nick Kroll as Bob; Allison Tolman as Dawn; Rob Huebel as Officer Chandler; Jeremy Renner as Tommy
Andrew Jay Cohen ( )
June 30, 2017