Comic greats Will Ferrell and Amy Poehler’s long-awaited onscreen partnership was always going to attract attention, so the circumstances and film topic had to be topical and had to be right. In June 2017, they released The House. The film revolves around a secret casino Ferrell and Poehler have set up in their house. The premise alone is enough to attract attention, and not just because of the comic caliber of the stars, but because casinos are very popular and the classic casino game is making a comeback.
The House’s plot is exactly as it sounds – and obviously, as it’s a comedy, hijinks ensue and trouble brews. But the simple nature of the plot allows the actors – and the wide array of supporting characters such as funny figures Lennon Parham and Jason Mantzoukas, Nick Kroll, and even action star Jeremy Renner, to shine. To pay for their daughter’s college tuition, married couple Ferrell and Poehler set up a business in their home, and it just happens to be a casino business. The film takes all the exciting aspects of casino games and throws them in to showcase the bare bones of what people enjoy about them in general, from the games available to the ambience, to the luxurious and glamorous nature of the experience.
Casino films have always been popular – from Casino to 21 to Croupier, to smaller segments through the years in James Bond and other similar action films. But, now more than ever, the booming interest in casino games may also have had some influence over the topic of the film. Casino gaming online is growing in line with technology and as such is often one of the first industries to roll out newer technology, such as live streaming and virtual reality. For example, Sloty.com offers both traditional casino games, and more modern content-driven games, plus live dealers which mimic the atmosphere of a casino experience. The variety available on the casino site has grown remarkably since the early days of online casino and instead of being compared to physical casinos, stands as a pastime all on its own.
The film – since its release – has grossed roughly $25 million, which isn’t as high as expected, but given the stars of the film and the entertaining premise, should even out with DVD sales and downloads. According to Empire, the film matches the comedy of the Judd Apatow era, made famous by Ferrell’s scene stealing in Old School, which this film is reminiscent of. The general audience for the movies has aged, and with it the writing has grown from frat-boy humour to being able to poke fun at boring adult situations.
While The House may not have found its feet in an extremely busy year for a lot of big blockbusters and highly anticipated franchise films, it takes a topical idea and breathes life and humour into it. Casino games are definitely the “in thing” right now and the New Line Cinema release only further proves this.