Saturday, July 1, 2017

The House [2017]

MPAA (R)  CNS/USCCB (O) (1 Star)  AVClub ()  Fr. Dennis (3 Stars)

IMDb listing
CNS/USCCB (K. Jensen) review
Los Angeles Times () review (C. Lemire) review
AVClub () review

The House [2017] (directed and cowritten by Andrew Jay Cohen along with Brendan O'Brien), crude / appropriately R-rated, could be described as Amy Poehler Parks & Recreation [2009-2015] mashed with every movie that Will Farrell has ever made.

The two play Kate and Scott Johansen proud-as-punch that their only daughter / mutual "best friend" (yup, kinda creepy) Alex (played wonderfully by Ryan Simpkins) got accepted to Stanford University-like "Bucknell U."  Loveble, kind, but not at all financially practical, of course, Kate and Scott have made NO PLANS WHATSOEVER to save-up for the big day when their Alex was gonna go off to school.  Instead, they were BANKING on "straight A" Alex getting a full-ride scholarship traditionally offered by their town.

But newly elected, pettily corrupt dweeb of a quiet suburban town mayor, "Bob" (played spot-on wonderfully by Nick Kroll) has decided to sink the town's funds into his pocket, err ... into a ridiculously elaborate (and probably never, ever to be built) "aquatic complex" (read glorified town swimming pool) instead.  When the Johansens protest this sudden and previously unannounced change in the town's practices, "Mayor Bob" puts the scholarship "for the Johansens and their 'smarty pants' daughter Alex ONLY" vs the ridiculously bright colored / elaborate "pie in the sky" "aquatic complex for _ALL_" to "a vote" ... and ...

What to do? ... Kate decides that she'll go back to work, but where ... she's been out of the workforce for years.  Scott decides to ask his generally amiable (but well versed in / exhausted with the petty assumptions of "white privilege") African American boss for a raise.  "Not a chance" the boss answers even before Scott finishes his question, (and in the film's out-takes shown at the end of the film, challenges Scott, "Okay, I'll give you a raise if you can name even ONE of my three lovely kids" (a proud picture of the boss and his smiling cute-as-a-button kids sits prominently on his desk, as it probably has FOR YEARS ;-)  Of course Scott CAN'T REMEMBER the name of EVEN ONE OF HIS BOSS' KIDS ;-).

So ... with little options ... the two get talked into a truly hair-brained scheme concocted by a friend named Frank (played wonderfully in bug-eyed fashion by Jason Mantzoukas) whose wife was leaving him and was in the midst losing his house BECAUSE OF A GAMBLING ADDICTION to go in with him on running AN ILLEGAL CASINO out of his house because ... as EVERYBODY KNOWS ... "The House ALWAYS wins" ;-)

Much, often in quite hilarious "Suburban Goodfellas" fashion, ensues ... ;-)

This is a movie that hasn't exactly gotten "much love" from the critics (above) but I do have a soft spot for these "Paul Blart: Mall Cop" style of films ;-).  Exaggerated as the film may have been, _every one of characters_ in this film could have easily been a parishioner ;-).

SO... obviously DON'T DO WHAT THE JOHANSENS DID AT HOME ... ;-) ... and parents remember that this is an R-rated movie but ... when the kids are asleep or on date night ... enjoy the film ;-).  Yes, things can be worse ... ;-)

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