On June 30th, “The House” premieres across the world. For newbie’s in the gambling world, ‘the house’ is a term referring to a casino, hence in this light the title is evidently self-explanatory to the movie’s plot and synopsis. Andrew Cohen in the film, “The House” portrays the shenanigans of a husband and wife trying to recover their daughter’s college fund after they had spent it on other unwarranted expenses. This comedy combines two of Hollywood’s best comedians, Will Ferrel, and Amy Poehler as Scott and Kate Johansen respectively. Andrew Cohen continues in the same mould as has been the case recently with gambling movies by adapting his movie in a comic genre just like “The Hangover” and “Think like a Man Too.” However, the major difference between this movie and past gambling movies, is the elimination of Las Vegas as the movie’s setting. The big question among movie fanatics and critics is that yes, it has managed to effectively depart from previous settings that characterise its predecessors, but would it rank amongst “the best gambling movies ever?”
Three major elements which draw viewers to watch a movie are the actors, plot and the setting. Every great movie has a household name lead actor doubling up as the first marketing tool. “The House” in this first regard is undoubtedly spot on as it features the faces of two of the most enterprising comedians right now in Will Ferrel and Amy Poehler. An interesting and many-sided Will Ferrel and a drily vicious Amy Poehler with the aid of a friend and neighbour Jason Mantzoukas (Frank) start an underground casino in their basement where they try to recoup a college fund. The humour espoused by these two makes it a great watch. Comparing “The House” with other notable challengers in the comedy genre depicting a casino movie, certainly in terms of actors, it is slightly above “The Hangover” as the first film series included known actors but not exactly household names before the movie release. With “Think Like a Man Too” it seems to be a way short as it is not star-studded all round.
Moving on, the plot is a mixture of the old and the new. The problem of parents struggling to raise college funds for their kids is not new but to do so through gambling is a totally new phenomenon. Gambling movies have for a long time reinforced the reason for gambling more in the vein of greed rather than for the common good or worthy causes. To exemplify this, from classics like ‘Casino’ and The Gambler to contemporaries like ‘The Hangover’ gambling is done by mobs looking to acquire power and status, con-artists who want to enrich themselves and individuals seeking personal glorification. The House brings a new twist to the fore, gambling for a worthy purpose (though the end is not exactly the same) thus a uniqueness which makes it a potential good watch.
Last but definitely not least pertains to the movie’ setting. Arguably, all of the best gambling movies ever have a common denominator and that denominator is the setting, Las Vegas. Without this denominator, ‘The House’ has its work pretty much cut out to make it on the list of the best ever gambling movies. However, there is admiration for the work which Andrew Cohen and company put into the movie, the Johansen’s house has everything in it from a Vegas-style casino, complete with card tables, pool parties to a room wholly designated for a strip club. The work they put in certainly compensates for not filming in Las Vegas.
‘The House’ promises to be a good movie due to the blending of new and old movie production features, all that is left is public opinion to make it or break it but the indicators clearly point a potential blockbuster.