I went into this movie uncertain of what to expect. Based on the previews, I really wanted to like it, but the last couple years of comedies have caused me to question my instincts, and a review embargo usually isn’t a good sign either.
After the city denies their daughter the scholarship she had won, Scott and Kate Johansen (Will Ferrell and Amy Poehler) discover they have no money to send their daughter to her dream college. Luckily, Scott’s friend Frank (Jason Mantzoukas) has a solution.
Frank’s life has fallen apart recently, his wife left him, he lost his job, and will soon be losing his house. He comes up with one of his infamous plans to make some quick cash for he and his friends. He sets up an entire PowerPoint presentation to pitch them.
His plan is to turn his house into a casino. Scott and Kate are hesitant but can’t think of any other way to make the money so they agree to do it. They start off with some homemade tables, and as they make more money, they put more into it and soon they have a full blown casino.
It doesn’t take long for it to go to their heads, and pretty soon they’re masquerading as big shots around the casino. In their efforts to show off their power they catch someone in the casino counting cards, and decide they should make an example of him. They attempt to scare the cheater by threatening to cut his fingers off, but due to a poorly timed argument involving an axe, they end up actually cutting them off. Through his screams, the cheater warns them that his boss is going to hear about this. They don’t think much of it, and kick him out.
Everything goes pretty smoothly considering the circumstances and they end up making lots of sweet, sweet cash, that is until the City manager, Bob (Nick Kroll) finds out about it and confiscates all their earnings. For about 5 minutes, they’re all pretty upset about it. Then Frank suggests they keep going because they have nothing to lose.
So once again the doors open and once again money comes pouring in, for a short time. The cheater’s boss Tommy (Jeremy Reiner) busts through the front door. The group promptly sets him on fire and that’s pretty much how the scene ends.
From here the movie begins to wind down. Bob again tries to confiscate all their money. It this time the chief of police stands against him after learning that Bob had taken the scholarship money for his personal use. So in the end, their daughter goes off to college after all.
I personally really enjoyed this movie, it was fun and legitimately funny. It brought back some of my faith in Will Ferrell. Overall I give it a 4 out of 5. I don’t know if it has much of second watch value, but it’s definitely worth a first watch.