Everyone loves a good comedy, don’t they? A chance over the course of 90 minutes to forget one’s troubles and strife, switch the brain off and go on a fun-filled rollercoaster that will get the funny-bone tickling and the eye’s a-watering. Sadly, it’s been awhile since we’ve had a truly great comedy that has done such things so it’s somewhat surprising to report that The House, the new film starring SNL alum Will Ferrell and Amy Poehler, is as much of a riot as it is.
Ferrell and Poehler play Scott and Kate Johanson, a forty-something married couple who are looking into the barrel of a midlife crisis as they prepare for the impending departure of their daughter Alex (Ryan Simpkins) who is off to college. She has her heart set on Bucknell University but to make her dreams a reality, her parents need $50,000 in double-quick time after a grant from their local town council (lead by a slimy Nick Kroll) pulls her funding. Enter their best friend Frank (Mantzoukas) who has an idea: start an illegal underground casino in his house to both fund Alex’s tuition and help him win back his estranged wife. Cue fight-nights, drugs, alcohol, The Butcher and The Burner.
With any comedy, all you really want is to laugh and it’s with great delight to announce that The House is the best comedy of the summer so far, maybe even the year. Co-written and directed by Andrew Jay Cohen, the writer who helped bring Bad Neighbours to the screen, The House manages to find the magic elixir that all comedies strive for: consistency, something that both Neighbours films had in spades. Indeed, as is the problem with modern comedies these days, you’d immediately be thinking that all the funnier moments are in the trailer, but surprises are certainly in store and it’s a testament to Cohen and writing partner Brendan O’Brien that they have managed to hold on to some real gems.
For fans of Ferrell, they can rest easy and breathe a huge sigh of relief that the funnyman is back on tip-top form after the disappointing returns of Get Hard and Zoolander 2. Here, its classic Ferrell – a ball of energetic humour mixed with a dash of loud and hypnotic anger, it’s a performance that has all the hallmarks of those classic turns in Anchorman, Old School, and Step Brothers – and that’s just fine with us. With many of his double-acts, Ferrell is only as good as his sidekick and Poehler is one of his better partners, dovetailing off of his manic energies with typical aplomb. Such comedy combinations sometimes see each trying to top the other for laughs but here the dynamic duo are smarter than that and share the laughs to brilliant effect, and with the added gusto of Jason Mantzoukas and many fantastic supporting turns, there isn’t a false note amongst them (bar a slightly misjudged cameo from Jeremy Renner).
While it may have all the hallmarks of another underwhelming comedy, of which we have had a few this year (we’re looking at you CHiPS, Snatched and Fist Fight), The House is a shimmering summer beacon of fun and frolics that will tickle the funny bone and then some. Place your bets, ladies and gentlemen, this is one House to put your money on.
The House is released on June 30th.