It looks like The House doesn’t always win.
Will Ferrell and Amy Poehler’s comedy is an unfunny disaster that will test the patience of even the most easily amused viewers.
The story follows Scott (Ferrell) and Kate (Poehler) as they attempt to pay for their daughter’s college tuition by starting up an underground casino with their friend Frank (Jason Mantzoukas).
It’s obvious right from the start that the film isn’t going to work.
The writers try and be ‘edgy’ with a gag about the difference between being raped and date-raped at college but end up just being downright offensive and inappropriate.
Campus sexual assault is a massive social issue in the US at the moment and trying to make light of that gets the film off to a poor start.
After a trip to Las Vegas with Frank, Scott and Kate agree to set up a casino in Frank’s house and invite the people of the town.
Their scheme is an immediate success and soon most of the town’s adult population are spending their nights gambling.
The strange behaviour in the locals confuses councillor Bob Schaffer (Nick Kroll) and cop Officer Chandler (Rob Huebel), who set about trying to uncover the casino.
The House seems like a winning formula but nothing works.
Even Ferrell and Poehler fail to excite, with nothing in their delivery being especially surprising or memorable.
The best member of the cast is easily Kroll, who takes the highly-strung, self-entitled councillor role to the extreme, dripping condescension with every word.
But that’s about all there is in the way of successes in The House.
Most people’s motivations make no sense, their reactions to events are incongruous and practically all of the jokes fall completely flat.
Even a late-stage cameo, which would ordinarily lift a movie like this, is lacking and feels as though it was spliced in to appease frustrated test audiences.
If The House is anything to go by, first-time director Andrew Jay Cohen should get back out from the behind the camera and go back to writing films instead.
If you’re considering going to see The House, you’d be better off catching pretty much anything else on offer.