Grade: B


Author: Billy Madden

College tuition can be really expensive. It has been for as long as I can remember. Some parents save a buck here and there, trying to scrimp up enough cash to put their child through the higher education system. Other parents take on a second or third job to afford the extreme tuition.

In Will Ferrell’s latest movie, The House, parents Scott (Will Ferrell) and Kate Johansen (Amy Poehler) go to the extreme to send their daughter Alex (Ryan Simpkins) to the prestigious Bucknell University (fun fact, actually shot at Cal State University of Long Beach).

They initially relied on a scholarship already in place for Alex, given by their small town. Due to some tomfoolery with the town’s budget, the scholarship gets used for a water park, leaving the Johansens scrambling for the tuition. They resort to the most logical fast money scheme you can think of… running an illegal casino inside their friend’s house.

The House is a comedy that could get mistaken for any of the most recent big-budget comedies in the past few years. Flicks such as Bridesmaids, Sisters, and The Neighbors all had a similar feel; this film is no exception. It is your typical summer comedy that focuses on making you laugh out loud by mixing real troubles with insane scenarios.

Though the script may feel recycled, the picture is well done. The star-studded cast keeps you entertained for the whole hour-and-a-half run time. An even bigger bonus goes out to this movie’s marketing team, which didn’t give away all the funny scenes in the trailer. Audiences will be entertained with maybe surprising laugh-out-loud moments.

Ferrell and Poehler do a great job as the lead actors and bring the funny constantly. There are a few surprise cameos peppered in as well. Legend has it that Mariah Carey had a cameo (filmed entirely), but since she was such a diva to the cast and crew, it got left on the cutting room floor.

It should be noted that The House sometimes has some violence, with a good amount of blood. I also lost count of the f-bombs used. Thus the “R” rating is valid, showing that it is not a kids’ movie. Still, when I went, some moms didn’t get the message.

Aside from being funny and having a stellar cast, there isn’t much to say about this feature. I’ll keep this review short by saying it’s worth your time at the cinema with your best friends. Beat the heat this summer by taking on The House.

Rated: R (for language throughout, sexual references, drug use, some violence, and brief nudity)
Director: Andrew Jay Cohen
Screenwriters: Andrew Jay Cohen, Brendan O’Brien
Starring: Will Ferrell, Amy Poehler, Jason Mantzoukas, Nick Kroll, Allison Tolman, Michaela Watkins, Ryan Simpkins, Jessie Ennis, Rob Huebel, Cedric Yarbrough, Jeremy Renner

After Scott (Will Ferrell) and Kate (Amy Poehler), and Johansen lose their daughter Alex’s college fund, they become desperate to earn it back so she can pursue her dream of attending a university. With the help of their neighbor Frank (Jason Mantzoukas), they decide to start an illegal casino in the basement of his house.

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