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Andrew J. Cohen directs this romp about a mother and father (Will Ferrell and Amy Poehler) who blow their daughter's college fund and start an illegal casino in their basement to recoup the losses.
The House squanders a decent premise and a talented cast on thin characterizations and a shortage of comic momentum.
A dismayingly lightweight experience.
Instead of writing actual characters, they've hired a gaggle of beloved comedians to do bits based on stereotype and persona, and have concocted a cockamamie suburban crime story that manages to be both bizarre and incredibly thin.
In a year in which studio comedies failed on so many levels, The House was surprisingly okay and there's nothing wrong with that.
A dark, startlingly bloody journey into the bitter, empty, broken heart of the American middle class, a blend of farce and satire built on a foundation of social despair.
There's more character development (and more believable plot turns) in a typical "Saturday Night Live" sketch.
Cohen just can't seem to make the tonal shifts work, and the film falls prey to some cringe-inducing scenes in its second half.
It's all meant to be wild and crazy, but somehow it seems simultaneously nasty and dull.
The pace is hectic, but the jokes just aren't there.
...what happens when improvisation runs out of steam.
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