Every so often, a movie comes along that exceeds all expectations, and revitalises a genre that had been looking a little tired. There were several movies that did it for horror last year, and the results have been amazing. Can the comedy genre please get one of those movies? Look, it's not all doom and gloom. We had a couple of hits earlier in the year with Pork Pie and Going In Style, and even Baywatch had a few laughs. But with Rough Night and now The House, we've hit a downward trajectory. I'd say we can only go up from here, but I'm honestly terrified that might not actually be the case. The premise of this garbage is that Scott and Kate (Will Ferrell and Amy Poehler) are terrible parents. More specifically, it's that they can't afford to send their daughter Alex (Ryan Simpkins) to college, because the scholarship they'd been relying on has been discontinued. (Why? Because the councilman in charge of said scholarship has been spending that money on his mistress.) So here's my first question. If your daughter nay, your only child is getting good enough grades throughout her school years that getting accepted into her choice of college looks like it's actually going to be feasible for her, why aren't you saving any money towards that? Everything I've ever seen that's been about college in the U.S. has emphasized how expensive it is. Come on you live in a nice house, and have always had the option of bringing in more money, as evidenced by the fact that Kate looks into going back to work when she discovers how much money they're going to need. Why didn't you look into going back to work before now? I understand that a lot of parents want to stay home and spend time with their children, but Alex appears to be an intelligent and capable girl. She is in no way dependant or reliant on having her mother home all the time, and if my understanding of teenagers is correct, most of them would be mortified with having their mother home all the time. Kate's not the only one to blame, though, as Scott is simply terrible with numbers. Alright, so math isn't a strong suit for a lot of people, but as the family's only breadwinner, Scott should have taken some responsibility for this problem a long time ago. At the very least, he could have hired an accountant or financial consultant to help him understand what's happening with his family's money. The answer to Scott and Kate's money problems comes in the form of Frank (Jason Mantzoukas), a clearly unstable lunatic who suggests turning his house into an illegal casino. It doesn't take long before things get out of control, and everything goes belly-up in exactly the ways you'd expect. The biggest example of this is when the three catch someone cheating, and end up cutting his finger off with an axe. This earns Scott the nickname of "The Butcher", and Kate somehow winds up as "The Burner". Frank
well, he was clearly a psychopath already. The first thing to note here is that the effects are terrible. I've seen intermediate school productions that would handle a severed finger and spurting blood more realistically. As for the attempt to re- attach the finger, that has to be seen to be believed. (Then again, I did see it, and I'm not sure I can believe it.) Scott, Kate, and Frank quickly adopt their new personas, and only Frank manages to pull off anything remotely close to "threatening". Not even a glorified cameo from Jeremy Renner as a mob boss can save this story although the bloopers at least show he seemed to have fun filming it. Yay for him. Then there are the side characters in this monstrosity. The best thing about the movie is when the casino holds an impromptu "fight night", and that's only because it's so damn satisfying to see these idiots beat the tar out of each other. Not a single character is at all endearing, and the only one you have any reason to care about is the one going up against Martha. You thought the (now infamous) "Martha" scene from Batman v Superman was bad? This is worse. Much, much worse. At this point, you might be questioning where the police are in all this. Well, it would appear the town of Fox Meadow has only one police officer, and the only person in the world more inept at their job is currently in the Oval Office. To be fair, Officer Chandler (Rob Huebel) does have his hands somewhat tied by Councilman Bob (Nick Kroll), the most corrupt politician since the one currently residing in the Oval Office. And how does this all end? Yeah, I'm going to spoil it, because this is so bad that I don't recommend anyone see this, and the ending is one of the worst parts. Scott and Kate wind up in the clear (despite having run an illegal casino, chopped a man's finger off, been implicit in burning down a house and in doing so, likely killing a mob boss), Frank gets his wife back (who has been holding the moral high ground all movie, then promptly suggests she and Frank commit insurance fraud), and the councilman's mistress goes back to her husband, while said councilman suffers no other consequence, despite his embezzling. The lesson, then? Do whatever the hell you want, as life has no consequences. At one point, Kate does tell Scott that one of them needs to be the adult, but it's quite clear maturity was not a factor in any of this.