There are a lot of great comedy actors out there that are really funny and make some awesome films, but then they also have a few duds in between those great ones. That is what I expected this film to be. A dud in the great and hilarious careers of Will Ferrell and Amy Poehler. But in fact, I was wrong. While it most definitely is not one of the greats, it’s an okay film.
The film sees overbearing parents Ferrell and Poehler having to team up with their friend Jason Mantzoukas to start an illegal casino so they can make enough money to send their daughter to the college of her dreams. It’s a bit of a ridiculous idea but they roll with it all the way to the end. It’s a very predictable story but there are a couple of plot points and events thrown in there that are quite surprising though.
The acting is pretty fine all round. Ferrell and Poehler are great in everything and here they are a little more reserved than they often are but they are still both on pretty good form. Mantzoukas is pretty good too as the slightly unhinged friend with a gambling addiction. Perhaps one of the weakest actors is Nick Kroll as the very over the top pantomime villain of the film. He just doesn’t seem like a real person at all and it makes his scenes really strange to watch. The rest of the cast is pleasant though, with Ryan Simpkins as the daughter struggling to cope with her parents and the thought of leaving and Jeremy Renner making a brief, but memorable, appearance as a dangerous criminal.
But this film hinges on whether or not it is funny. Is it? Well, yes. Mostly anyway. I would say that more than half the jokes land and are actually pretty funny, butt he ones that don’t end up falling very flat. There are no real outrageously funny moments either, with most just warranting a light chuckle rather than all out belly laughs. It’s funny enough, but I don’t think it is nearly as funny as it should be. I think mainly the premise it probably stretched a bit too far for what it is and so a lot of the funny events that take place feel a little forced sometimes and out of place.
Overall, it’s not a bad film, but it definitely isn’t a great film either. It’s held up by the two main stars and their good performances as well as some lightly funny jokes, but really this film is a little disappointing. Although, I can’t say that I was expecting all that much anyway.
JACK’S SCORE: 2/5