The House

Movie review by
Joyce Slaton, Common Sense Media
The House Movie Poster Image
Great cast wasted in tepid, weirdly violent comedy.
  • R
  • 2017
  • 88 minutes

Parents say

age 17+
Based on 7 reviews

Kids say

age 15+
Based on 11 reviews

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

Well-meaning as it might be, there are better ways to support your kids' endeavors than to launch a criminal enterprise. Male and female characters being called "b---h" and "p---y" sends an uncomfortable message about gender roles. 

Positive Role Models & Representations

Public officials are corrupt, parents run an illegal gambling ring, and a supposedly level-headed teen is smoking pot and sneaking into an illegal casino. Still, there's a loving, if sitcom-y, family at the center of this muddled movie. Not a lot of diversity.


Surprising amount of violence for a comedy: A man's finger is chopped off accidentally; he screams, and gouts of blood cover another man's clothes and face. A character frequently threatens others with an axe and eventually chops off someone's arm (silly yet gory special effects) and then sets him on fire; another character makes threats with a blowtorch. A woman jokes about her problems and mimes that she's going to commit suicide by hanging. A mobster threatens characters with a gun; a police officer tosses a gun around playfully and tells horrified onlookers that being afraid of a gun is "silly." 


Man briefly seen nude from the rear. A couple who wants to reassure each other that their sex life is still great make jokes about going to "F--k Town." Jokes about date rape, masturbation, anonymous sex through holes in the wall. Characters threaten to cut a man's penis off in a moment that's played for laughs.


Frequent cursing includes "f--k," "f--king," "f--ked," "f--k you," "bitch," "ass," "damn," "crap," "hell," "s--t," "bulls--t," "a--hole," "goddamn," "d--k," "boner," "p---y." 


One scene features characters shopping in a Container Store, with the store's logo and signage clearly visible. A character uses a vessel at the store to vomit in and mentions this fact prominently. 

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Adults and recent high-school graduates drink alcohol and smoke pot (joints, creative bongs). One character drinks and smokes to excess; she later vomits and says she's mentally and physically addicted to marijuana. In several scenes, characters snort cocaine. A main character smokes cigarettes.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that The House is an over-the-top comedy built around an iffy premise: Parents (Will Ferrell and Amy Poehler) start an illegal casino to pay for their daughter's college. There's more violence than you'd expect: Limbs and digits are chopped off, with spouting blood that goes everywhere. Main characters threaten others with an axe and a blowtorch, a villain threatens a crowd with a gun, and a cop plays with a gun and says being afraid of guns is "silly." A woman also mimes hanging herself as a response to a stressful situation. Both adults and high-school grads drink and smoke pot (a main character says she's addicted to the latter); in one scene, a bunch of men snort cocaine. Things get pretty racy, too: There are jokes about masturbation, date rape, a married couple's sex life, and anonymous sex through holes in a wall. Language is strong and frequent, with many uses of "f--k," "s--t," and much more. Both male and female characters are derisively called "bitch" and "p---y," which sends an uncomfortable message about gender roles. 

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byMummy Roo April 9, 2018

Disturbingly Bad

One of the most boring movies produced. Will Ferrell is robotic in his performance. Amy Poehler's typical crassness is just annoying. The daughter has the... Continue reading
Parent Written byJosh S. August 27, 2017

Funny, but highly inappropriate.

I saw this movie myself and I thought it was really funny. But it is very inappropriate for kids. I wouldn't say there is too much violence but there is a... Continue reading
Teen, 14 years old Written byEthan_whaterver June 28, 2020

Common sense fails to mention...

This supposed comedy is oddly and unnecessarily violent. A lot of swearing, and frankly, I didn’t laugh for real once. Common sense fails to mention the topless... Continue reading
Kid, 10 years old October 12, 2019
Lots of drug use and swearing but really good movie. Not for kids but I recommend watching it

What's the story?

When Kate (Amy Poehler) and Scott (Will Ferrell) Johansen find out that the town-sponsored college scholarship they'd counted on for their beloved daughter, Alex (Ryan Simpkins), has been withdrawn by shady mayor Bob (Nick Kroll), they handle the news by going on a money-losing spree to Vegas with their pal Frank (Jason Mantzoukas), a struggling gambling addict. And that's where they get their big idea. If casino games are rigged, why not become THE HOUSE themselves? Within days, Frank's miserable-bachelor pad has been transformed into a mini-Monte Carlo, and the trio are raking in the green. But the casino soon attracts the attention of Officer Chandler (Rob Huebel) -- and, worse, local mobster Tommy (Jeremy Renner). Can the Johansens hold on to their cash, their freedom, and and all of their body parts? 

Is it any good?

Such funny people, such weak material, such a shame and a waste. Every single person in this comic misfire has acquitted themselves honorably elsewhere, from the two main stars -- who are, of course, legends (Buddy the Elf meets Leslie Knope!) -- to the outrageous excess of the brilliant third and fourth bananas: We haven't even mentioned that Allison Tolman, Randall Park, and Lennon Parham are doing time here, too, or that The House was directed and co-written by Neighbors' Andrew Jay Cohen. Still, all that talent yields only a few weak chuckles.

Part of the problem is that the movie's basic premise is so dumb. The moment -- and it comes early in the film -- that viewers catch sight of Scott and Kate's gigantic house, all the air goes out of their dilemma: Couldn't they just move into a smaller place and use that money to send Alex to college? Also: These people with good jobs were so sure that their daughter would win the town scholarship that they never opened a 529 plan? Further logic problems exist around the economic viability of their casino (they're going to wring hundreds of thousands of dollars from their neighbors?) and of a mob boss who comes to threaten them. But viewers wouldn't be worrying about these holes if they were laughing harder. But while everyone onscreen is visibly working to make us laugh, the jokes are just inert. There are stupid comedies that are still funny. Too bad this one isn't one of them.

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