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The House review: This movie loses in comedy stakes

 

By Damon Smith

Andrew Jay Cohen's comedy about a cash-strapped couple who start an illegal gambling den to fund their daughter's university education hits a hot losing streak in the opening frames and then haemorrhages our affection and patience at an alarming rate.

The script, co-written by Brendan O'Brien, bets heavily on the high-rolling comedic talents of Will Ferrell, Amy Poehler and Jason Mantzoukas to recoup big laughs from a loopy plot, garish characterisation and two sequences of gratuitous blood-letting. Sadly, almost everything the cast risks in pursuit of sympathy giggles - including lopping off a limb of actor Jeremy Renner - is a bust.

We're reminded by the live casinos that clutter late-night TV channels and the internet to stop gambling when the fun stops. Following that advice, audiences who take a punt on Cohen's picture should walk out after five minutes.

Two stars

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