Classic Will Ferrell finds him at his goofiest when he is an over the top character. Films like Anchorman, Semi-Pro and Talladega Nights have him portraying a zany and hyperbolic character. As of late, Farrell has choses to play the lovable dad type. In films like Daddy’s Home and Get Hard, the former of which I haven’t seen, Ferrell is the straight as an arrow or dad character who has good intentions but ultimately breaks that habit. In his newest, The House, Ferrell embodies that same personality, to an extent. He is the dad just wanting to send his kid to college, so he resorts to a life of crime. What separates this film from the likes of Get Hard is the supporting cast, a fairly fresh premise and consistent laughs. Above all, The House was a major surprise for me, and a movie I found myself enjoying the large majority of.
In The House, Ferrell stars with Amy Poehler as Scott and Kate Johansen, parents to Alex (Ryan Simpkins). Alex gets into Bucknell University and while excited that their daughter will be headed to school, they soon find out they can’t afford it. If not for a lack of funds, the city council has decided to rescind funding for an annual scholarship, for which Alex is the intended recipient. The council, led by Bob (Nick Kroll) has decided they should spend money on the town pool, and not the scholarship. Scott and Kate’s lovable loser friend, Frank (Jason Mantzoukas) resort to turning Frank’s house into an illegal casino in order to profit from their friends recklessness.
Is The House a movie you’ve seen a million times? Of course. Is it predictable and flat to some degree? Yes. Not every joke hits in the movies very brief 90 minute run time. However, the ones that do land, are funny. Moreover, the jokes come at a consistent enough pace to warrant this one not being a total waste of 90 minutes.
That sounded harsh. But, ultimately, The House is not a Will Ferrell classic you’ll be quoting for years. It is more along the lines of something like The Campaign, not the best Ferrell entry you’ll see, but you’ll have a good time watching it. By and large, the movies success is thanks to several great supporting turns by Poehler, Mantzoukas, Kroll and the guy you’ve seen in other films but never know his name aka Rob Huebel. Huebel plays Officer Chandler who begins to grow suspicious about illegal activity after Bob mentions that no one is showing up to council meetings anymore.
The House is a bit sloppy to some degree. It is a moot to criticize films like this. Simply put, the movie had enough consistent comedy for me to be entertained from start to finish. Warner Bros. let this film hit its Thursday night previews with little to no reaction to be found online. That is usually never a good sign. But maybe they weren’t betting on The House to be anything but summer filler. It is a bit more than that. The House is a breezy fun time that has enough laughs to keep from being too benign in a crowded R-rated comedy field.