Sometimes, you have to roll the dice.

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Credit: Glen Wilson/Warner Bros.
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What middle-aged suburban dad with a love for gambling hasn’t dreamed of opening his own casino? In Will Ferrell’s mind, the premise for The House isn’t that far from real life, considering he and Amy Poehler’s characters need some quick cash to send their daughter to college. “It’s only five steps away from being short of reality,” Ferrell jokes. “Any parent faced with that circumstance would take desperate measures to achieve things for their kids. We just take it to a very exaggerated place.”

That place is a debaucherous basement casino hiding behind a leafy suburban enclave, complete with a strip club, extravagant poolside scene, and MMA fight night. Lording over his operation with comic ruthlessness, Ferrell’s financial nitwit Scott quickly grows comfortable with his new power, channeling Robert De Niro in Casino. Poehler’s Kate is complicit in the action — and the humor. It helped that the two were synced from the first “Action.” “We had no rehearsals. We just started filming,” Ferrell says. “And we were beautifully in the pocket with each other. It didn’t surprise me, but that is so rare.”

That left first-time feature director Andrew Jay Cohen, who co-wrote Neighbors, with the task of pulling the best bits from hours of improv’d footage.

“The constant question was: ‘Is it too stupid?’” he recalls.

Sometimes, you have to roll the dice.

The House hits theaters on June 30.

The House

  • Movie
  • R
  • Andrew Jay Cohen