There was once a day that you would notice when a member of the SNL alum would make a film. It would either feel like an SNL skit or feel original, but in any case, it would be special in one way or another. In the same manner, you always knew when Will Ferrell would make a film. Some would hit and some wouldn’t, but you always knew nonetheless. The House is a film that stars two known SNL members, Ferrell and Poehler; yet, I nearly missed it when it came out if it weren’t for my film alerts. I saw no advertisement, I knew nothing about it, but I watched it anyway. Let’s get into it.
“When the council rescinds the town’s college scholarship program, two parents are left trying to find the money to pay for their daughter’s higher education. Teaming up with a friend, they start an illegal underground casino in a bid to get rich quick.” – IMDb
While the concept is understandable and not impossible to make great, I’m left thinking it was ultimately a weak concept with not much to really build on, and you really feel it while watching. Sure, it has some silly moments here and there that’ll make you giggle, but it’s a short movie, not even a full 90 minutes, and you can easily feel how much it drags on, which is a disappointment. Unfortunately, that’s what happens when jokes are basically reworded and redone multiple times throughout the film.
These are just my first impressions, though. Let’s break down The House to interpret the stars.
TITLE – The House
Year – 2017
Genres – Comedy
PEOPLE SCORE – 6/10
Acting – 1|Characters – 1|Casting – 1|Importance – 2|Chemistry – 1
First up, we have the people category, starting off with the subcategory of acting. The acting was neither terrible or great, mostly typical and forgettable. The characters were fine, but I won’t be remembering them forever. I think everyone did a fine job in the role, but that doesn’t mean they were the only actor for the job. Absolutely every character in this film seemingly had an important role adding to the direction of the plot. As far as the chemistry goes in this film, there wasn’t much of it. While it was fine, no one really cares about the relationships in this film.
WRITING SCORE – 6/10
Dialogue – 1|Balanced – 2|Story – 1|Originality – 1|Interesting – 1
Next up, we have the writing category, starting off with the dialogue subcategory…which was as unremarkable and forgettable as the meal you had last Tuesday afternoon. I would certainly say that the film is also very well-balanced and consistently holds a strong focus on the story at hand. When it comes to the actual story, I can’t really say it’s the best. It’s got a few things here and there that I think a lot of people will enjoy, but it’s certainly not the greatest story ever told. Is the film original? Well, I think elements of the film definitely feel fresh and new, but there’s always an itching feeling that we’ve seen this film before…so it’s not as original as it could’ve been. I’d say I was interested enough to watch the film, but as I watched the movie, my interested died down pretty rapidly and was gone before the film ended.
BTS SCORE – 6/10
Visuals – 1|Directing – 1|Editing – 1|Advertisement – 2|Music – 1
Next up, we’re taking a look at behind-the-scenes, starting with the visuals. In this case, the visuals were pretty standard and typical to what you’d expect. Nothing blows you away, nothing looks horrible, either. It is what it is, folks. Next, we’re taking a look at the directing, which slips by without you noticing it. That’s right, there wasn’t anything difficult or challenging for the director. They could’ve hired any director for the job and the movie would be exactly the same. Nothing challenging or difficult in the editor’s desk, folks. They stitched the movie together just fine, but there’s nothing else to report here because even a kid could probably do it. As with most films, I consider this film to be exactly as advertised, which is good. There wasn’t anything fancy or memorable about the music. It was basically as good as it needed to be in order to keep the tone in place…and that’s what they did here, as well.
NARRATIVE ARC SCORE – 9/10
Introduction – 2|Inciting Incident – 2|Obstacles – 1|Climax – 2|Falling Action – 2
Next up, we’re chugging right along into the narrative arc category, which is one of the easiest categories to score highly in. First up, we’re looking at the introduction, which did perfectly. By the inciting incident, we knew who everyone was, the basic setting, and what’s going on in these people’s lives. How about the inciting incident? That was perfectly clear and set the rest of the film up for a good ride. How were the obstacles? Well, I’ll say this much…there weren’t much. There was one main obstacle that they worked on for a while, but that was about it. How was the climax? The climax was perfect. It felt like a perfect culmination of everything else put together, just as it should. Lastly, we’re gonna talk about the falling action, which was really great. It had a nice little calming down moment and a definite returning to a new norm moment as well, so that’s good.
ENTERTAINMENT SCORE – 2/10
Impulsebility – 0|Fun – 2|Impulse/Buy – 0|Impulse/Talk – 0|Sucks Audience IN – 0
Now, we get to ask the age-old question on if this movie is even entertaining! It’s not the best start since I wouldn’t rewatch it if my life depended on it. Okay, that’s a bit harsh, but I honestly don’t see me ever looking for it in order to see it again. Is this a film I would consider fun while watching? Oh yeah, absolutely. Whatever technical problems the movie may or may not have, it is definitely fun, and that’s something no one can take away from it. Do I have any impulse to buy it? No way, Jose! What about talking to somebody about the film that hasn’t heard of it? I really have no impulse to tell anybody about it, honestly. Does this suck you in, though? No, not really. If anything, it has more opportunities to push you out than suck you in.
SPECIALTY SCORE – 20/50
Comedy – 5|Ferrell – 5|Poehler – 5|Family – 0|Halfway Decent – 5
Next up, we’re looking at the specialty questions that I asked before seeing the movie. The main question, obviously, is if the comedy was strong enough or not. As I mentioned above, it really isn’t. It has its moments, sure, but those moments came and went. The next thing I wanted to know was how well this works as a Ferrell and Poehler film. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, I am a fan of these people, even though their stuff isn’t always the best, but this isn’t a film I’ll mention when talking about them. They did fine and everything, so it’ll at least get half points, but anyone could’ve ultimately played these characters. I also figured this would have strong family values, since a big part of the foundation of the story is doing this for their daughter…but their daughter is barely even in it and I never really felt as if these two were married…so, what can I say? No points there. Finally, is the film halfway decent? Personally, I don’t think they did what they intended. I feel like most people it was targeted for don’t even know it exists, and the movie itself is highly bland. So it is what it is – half points there as well.