The House is a 2017 American comedy film directed by Andrew J. Cohen, and co-written by Cohen and Brendan O’Brien. The film stars Will Ferrell, Amy Poehler, Jason Mantzoukas, Ryan Simpkins, Nick Kroll, Allison Tolman, Rob Huebel, Michaela Watkins, Cedric Yarbrough and Jeremy Renner, and follows a couple that opens an underground casino in their friend’s house in order to pay for their daughter’s college tuition.
After losing their daughter’s college scholarship, husband and wife Scott (Ferrell) and Kate (Poehler) team up with their neighbor Frank Theodorakis (Mantzoukas) to start an illegal casino in their basement to raise money to pay for their daughter’s tuition. Frank’s wife, Raina, divorces him due to his gambling problem. The casino operation proves to be running smoothly until they discover that one of the gambler (Zissis) caught cheating in poker game. The Johansens and Frank confront him but Scott accidentally chops off the middle finger. This earns him a nickname “The Butcher” and makes the whole city afraid of his family, which inadvertently increases their profits. Several thousand dollars away from gaining $500,000, they are caught by a city councillor Bob Schaeffer (Kroll) and a police officer (Huebel) who confiscate their money and order them to close down the casino.
Nonetheless, they continue their business in the neighbor’s house which burns down after being invaded by a mobster (Renner) who works with the man whose finger had been chopped off. Having admitted their plot to their daughter, Scott and Kate team up with her and the police officer who had let them loose to steal the money back from Schaeffer. After being caught, Schaeffer reveals his plot to steal money from the city budget for him and his lover (Tolman), who leaves him and returns back to her husband (Scovel). Schaeffer is arrested while Scott and Kate use the money they took back from him to pay for their daughter’s tuition.
The House grossed $25.6 million in the United States and Canada, and $8.6 million in other territories, for a worldwide total of $34.2 million, against a production budget of $40 million.
In North America, The House opened alongside Despicable Me 3 and Baby Driver, as well as the wide expansion of The Beguiled, and was projected to gross $10–14 million from 3,134 theaters in its opening weekend. The film made $3.4 million on its first day (including $800,000 from Thursday night previews). It went on to open to $8.7 million, marking the lowest studio debut of Ferrell’s career as a lead actor. In its second weekend the film made $4.8 million (a drop of 45.2%), finishing 7th at the box office.
On review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, the film has an approval rating of 17% based on 63 reviews and has an average rating of 3.6/10. The site’s critical consensus reads, “The House” squanders a decent premise and a talented cast on thin characterizations and a shortage of comic momentum.” On Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating, the film has a score of 30 out of 100 based on 22 critics, indicating “generally unfavorable reviews”. Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of “B−” on an A+ to F scale.
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