The house always wins? One thing’s for certain – if you pay to see this lazy waste of time and talent, you’ll be the loser. As comedy, it may have worked on paper: Will Ferrell and Amy Poehler play the struggling parents of a perky, sure-to-succeed daughter. Trouble is, they can’t afford to send her to college. Enter their gambling-addicted buddy Frank (Jason Mantzoukas) with a hare-brained scheme to turn his house into an underground casino.
In practice, there’s nothing here that works. The script by ‘Neighbours’ writers Andrew J Cohen and Brendan O’Brien is practically non-existent – perhaps director Cohen was hoping Ferrell and Poehler would sprinkle a little of their improv magic and bring it to life. But both performers seem totally disengaged, zombie-ing through their parts as though they’d rather be somewhere, anywhere else (and fair enough). Jeremy Renner is unexpectedly funny in his fleeting cameo as a ruthless mob boss – but, hey, if stone-face Renner’s the liveliest thing in your movie, you’ve got problems.