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"The House" (2017): Movie Review

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Sometimes she "binge-watches" movies and shares her thoughts about them.

The House, 2017

The House, 2017

The House is a 2017 movie written by Brendan O'Brien and Andrew Jay Cohen. Cohen also directs the movie.

Despite being a comedy, it seems to carry a deep lesson for parents. Time flies! You better plan for your child's college funds and not rely on other people, more else... you may have to do things you never dreamed of!

The starring actors in The House are Will Ferrell and Amy Poehler, who play the role of a middle-aged couple. They are sufficiently supported by other actors such as Allison Tolman, Jason Mantzoukas, Nick Kroll, and Ryan Simpkins.

Main Characters

Scott Johansen: The husband and father

Kate Johansen: Scott's wife

Alex Johansen: Scott and Kate's daughter who is going to college

Frank: A friend of the Johansen's with gambling and relationship problems

Bob: an unscrupulous council member in the City Hall, part of the board that denied Alex's scholarship

Dawn: a city council member

Chandler: a police officer

The Plot

In the first scene of The House, parents show their daughter around a college. The House is a movie about a family whose lives take a turn when the daughter's time to pursue a college education catches them unawares.

They had expected a scholarship accorded by the town to students, but their daughter was not granted the same.

A couple reaches a point of desperation when their daughter secures a chance at Berkeley College, but they do not have the money.

I put my heart in the bank. I deposited love. A lot of it...

— The House, 2017

As parents, they do not want to let their daughter down, so they lie to her and devise a bizarre plan to raise the money. In a way, they are avenging the town's administration for not giving their daughter a chance.

They have to devise a plan to make enough money to pay for her college tuition. The parents, influenced by a friend of the girl's father, Frank, to start an illegal casino in a basement.

As for Frank, he hopes that if he can offer his house as the casino, then he will have no gambling problem and then he will win back his girlfriend.

They think of the tremendous potential legal risks but are also motivated to fund their daughter's college education.

Their illegal business also picks up and attracts the local authorities, mobsters, and smaller criminals alike. It gets dangerous, and they still have to keep it under the radar.

Despite the hurdles of the business, and having to do things they had never dreamt of doing as a "normal" couple with a lovely family, will they achieve their goal to put their daughter through college or will they get sidetracked? That's what the plot hints at as it plays on to the end.

View The House on Amazon Prime Video. The link is at the end of this article.

It's not an addiction if you can quit it anytime you want.

— The House, 2017


Setting: New York

Genre(s): Drama, Comedy

Themes: deception, family ties, crime, parent-child relationships, gambling, addiction, mental illness

Warnings: strong language, violent scenes, blood

My expectations for The House to be a comedy were met. In spite of the outrageous scenes full of crazy and sometimes overboard jokes, it was quite an enjoyable movie to watch. By outrageous I mean, the content is far from reality and would have done quite well for a comic rather than a comedy.

What goes on in the illegal casino at the friend's basement can throw some viewers off. There are many who will find the things happening there to be repulsive because they are illegal, and morally questionable, especially the obnoxiousness, violent scenes, gambling, and obscenities used.

Each character is well-developed with unique personalities, lifestyles, and world views, and they each contribute a certain wittiness to the story. For example, Frank has a serious gambling addiction, reckless behaviour, and poor hygiene practices. He is also very funny because he is an optimistic idiot. Together with Johansen, they bring a blend of matching humor to the movie.

The strong areas of The House include the hilarious dialogues that seem like utter stupidity by people who had previously seemed well-rounded family guys. It shows how adults can also fall for peer influence as easily as we assume that adolescents are more susceptible to peer pressure into bad behaviour.

The house always wins.

— The House, 2017

The humor is frequent and you will laugh several times before the end of the movie. Surprisingly, the graphic scenes in The House have a humorous intonation. You do not want to laugh given the horrific things happening, but then it is just funny and stupid how the events in these scenes happen.

The House has a predictable storyline punctuated with a few surprises such as the sheer blindness that the law enforcement seem to have regarding the casino.

I would recommend this movie to viewers who do not mind humor that's not intellectually stimulating, but rather just arises because the characters are dumb.

I must commend the actors for portraying idiotic characters, to do that takes a great deal of skill. Therefore, The House gets a 4 out of 5 stars rating from me.

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