Scott and Kate Johansen (Farrell and Poehler), are a clingy suburban couple who’ve invested all their hopes and dreams into their only child Alex (Ryan Simpkins). They face a crisis when her full-ride scholarship is canceled because of a municipal budget shortfall. Not wanting to tell their daughter the bad news, the Johansen’s need $500,000. A night out in Vegas inspires the Johansen’s gambling addicted neighbor Frank (Jason Mantzoukas) to turn his foreclosed, empty McMansion into a casino as a means of raising the money. They wind up getting involved with a corrupt city councilman (Nick Kroll) and a mobster (Jeremy Renner) who want a piece of the action. As events unfold, salacious secrets about their not so sleepy little town are uncovered.
The House should hilarious. The setup offers a multitude of kooky possibilities. But instead of fun, everything feels forced, and occasionally, even a bit stale. The script is credited to first time director Andrew J. Cohen (Neighbors, Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates) and Brendan O’Brien (Neighbors, Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates) but it has all the earmarks of too much on set improvisation. The characters are underdeveloped, and the unnatural.
The biggest problem is that Cohen seems content to let Ferrell, Poehler, and the rest riff away, to come up with their own punchlines, rather than developing what could have been some hilarious moments, already written in the script. As a result, The House is ill-defined. No satire. No fun. A waste of a talented cast. A comedy featuring Will Ferrell and Amy Poehler should be much better than this. Ferrell seems lost, and Poehler seems slightly uncomfortable. Who can blame her? The House is a loser.
Presented in the 2.40:1 aspect ratio, Warner Brothers’ 1080p transfer is solid. Sharp from beginning to end, with only the slightest softness during a couple of wide shots, those moments were far too infrequent to mar what is otherwise a well-defined presentation. Colors look positive across the board, and blacks are dark, and deep. Shadows look clear, and smooth. This is a consistently fine transfer.
The DTS-HD MA 7.1 soundtrack is fine, but doesn’t do anything particularly impressive. Like most comedies, the track has a limited soundfield that favors the front speakers. Music and ambience are spread well to the side channels. Dialogue is clean, clear, and concise, while effects are perfectly apparent.
English, French, Latin, and Spanish subtitles are included.
The following extras are available:
- Playing with a Loaded Deck (HD, 12:47) Various members of the cast and crew discuss the film, script, and performances. Pretty standard EPK stuff.
- If You Build The House They Will Come (HD, 13:43) A look at how an unassuming house was turned into a casino that could rival any in Vegas. Includes interviews with various cast and crew.
- Deleted Scenes (HD, 15:43) 11 in total.
- Extended/Alternate Scenes (HD, 119:54) 33 in total, these scenes run almost as long as the entire film!
- Gag Reel (HD, 9:57) The typical hijinks.
- Line-O-Rama’s (HD, 8:41) Some additional lines for existing scenes.
- DVD Copy of the film.
- UV/Digital Copy.
Movie title: The House (2017)
Director(s): Andrew J. Cohen
Actor(s): Will Ferrell , Amy Poehler , Allison Tolman , Steve Zissis , Andrea Savage Michaela Watkins