The House currently has a 16% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Personally I find it ridiculous how often comedies are taken to task. Given that Ghostbusters: Answer The Call has a 73% rating, it’s safe to say most movie critics don’t understand comedy and lack a sense of humor.
But just because I’m stating how clueless critics are to comedy doesn’t mean they’re wrong about The House. If you’re looking at this film and assuming it’s yet another mediocre Will Ferrell comedy, you aren’t mistaken. This film is at best something to stream for free with friends while you’re getting drunk or high and not really paying attention to it.
The House was directed by Andrew Jay Cohen and also written by him along with Brendan O’ Brien, a writing team who has also given us Neighbors, Neighbors 2 and Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates. These two have made a career from writing films for white people who lack a sense of humor, but are confident in the belief they know what’s funny.
The main issue with The House is how by the numbers it is. Will Ferrell and Amy Poehler completely phone it in, performing within a comfort zone they have found and haven’t really stepped outside of for over a decade now. It’s a shame because at one time these were some of the funniest people working in comedy and now you’re watching shadows of their former selves stepping in just to collect a paycheck.
The House features Jason Mantzoukas’ biggest role to date and his performance is the only thing that keeps you from frowning the entire time. This film also features Nick Kroll, Rob Huebel and Cedric Yarbrough who are all talented comedic talents trapped within this mediocre script that doesn’t give them much to work with. After seeing Baby Driver, a film filled with big names who are all given memorable roles, the flaws and holes within The House are all the more visible.
This man deserves better.
When I went to see The House the only people in the theater were ten people around my age and two moms reeking of cheap vodka who stumbled over from Buffalo Wild Wings and needed something to watch as they sobered up. Throughout the entire film they cackled like hyenas on speed, every now and then looking around the theater of people in their 20s, wondering why nobody was laughing.
That’s really the only person this film is going to amuse, people in their late 30s or early 40s who saw Old School in their youth when they were wild and reckless and have since married and had children……but still believe they know what’s cool.