Despite mutual credits in both 2007’s skating spoof Blades of Glory and a certain NBC sketch show, comedy titans Will Ferrell and Amy Poehler have, shockingly, shared virtually no screen time. That’s about to change when The House hits theaters this summer. The R-rated comedy, from the writing team behind Neighbors, stars Ferrell and Poehler as a husband and wife who start an underground casino in their living room to earn enough money to send their teenage daughter to college. “We didn’t do a good enough job,” says Poehler. “We don’t have the money we thought we had.”
The film tracks the duo’s transformation from mild-mannered parents into reprobate Mob bosses. “We basically become Sharon Stone and Robert De Niro in Casino,” quips Ferrell.
They may be regressing maturity-wise — Poehler’s character earns back her young-adult nickname Smoke a Lot of Pot and Pee Outside Kate, teases director Andrew Jay Cohen — but what they’re really experiencing is the reality that their daughter is about to leave. “They’re a tight-knit family who always tells each other the truth,” says Ferrell, who’s producing the film with his partner Adam McKay (The Big Short). “They’re dealing with the idea of being empty-nesters and what that’s going to do to their lives.” Add in their sad-sack gambling-addicted friend (The Dictator’s Jason Mantzoukas), who enables their basest desires, and you’ve got a comedy that roots its humor in real pathos.
For Poehler, the project came together when the decision was made to portray the couple as a real team rather than adversaries. “It’s not that typical thing with the wife rolling her eyes commenting on how dumb her husband is while the husband complains that his wife keeps him from having fun,” Poehler says. “Once we decided that, it changed the dynamic. We turn into criminals at about the same time. It just makes things easier.” (And far funnier.)
The House arrives on June 30. Check out an exclusive first-look photo from the film above.