The House (MA15+)
Starring: Will Ferrell, Amy Poehler
Two-word review: disappointingly flat.
As a long-time fan of Will Ferrell, no-one wanted this one to work more than me.
The previews, if not the reviews, were promising.
But sadly, in the Ferrell pantheon, this is more Get Hard than The Campaign.
Even renowned mentalist Amy Poehler seems a little flat.
If you’ve seen the previews, you know the tale.
Confronted by their daughter’s off-the-scale college tuition fees, a cash-strapped couple turn a suburban home into an illegal casino, with all the bells and whistles.
All the precursors are there for some classic Ferrell, but strangely it never seems to fire.
Second-rank characters are particularly empty and poorly-drawn, so the front rank isn’t getting much support.
The film’s best moments are when the casino holds fight night, and slo-mo is used to great effect as the men and women of the ’burbs let the claret run free.
Ferrell’s evolution into casino boss and enforcer, a la De Niro, is also almost worth the price of admission.
But Jeremy Renner’s weird appearance at the end, as a rival mob boss, adds little to the equation, and the miscasting seems apparent. De Niro’s price was probably too high.
But overall, the feeling is that, with his now prodigious producing commitments, Ferrell pretty much phoned this one in.
Even putting your brain in neutral, the gags really don’t fire, and the cinema remains eerily silent.
So, is Ferrell still funny? God, I hope so. We need him out there.
But on this performance? Not so much.
– Jason Beck