Director: Fred Wolf
Cast: Anna Faris, Colin Hanks, Emma Stone,
Kat Dennings, Dana Goodman, Katharine McPhee, Rumer Willis,
Christopher McDonald, Beverly D'Angelo
RunTime: 1 hr 37 mins
Released By: Columbia TriStar
Rating: PG (Sexual References)
Official Website: www.thehousebunny.com/
Opening Day: 1 October 2008
In Columbia Pictures' comedy "The House Bunny,"
Anna Faris charms as Shelley Darlington, a Playboy Bunny who
teaches an awkward sorority about the opposite sex –
only to learn that what boys really like is what's on the
is living a carefree life until a rival gets her tossed out
of the Playboy Mansion. With nowhere to go, fate delivers
her to the sorority girls from Zeta Alpha Zeta. Unless they
can sign a new pledge class, the seven socially clueless women
will lose their house to the scheming girls of Phi Iota Mu.
In order to accomplish their goal, they need Shelley to teach
them the ways of makeup and men; at the same time, Shelley
needs some of what the Zetas have – a sense of individuality.
The combination leads all the girls to learn how to stop pretending
and start being themselves.
There are comedies which try too hard, thinking that the spoofing
of genre movies one after another provide plenty of avenue
to draw out some hearty laughter. You can see through the
laziness in that, and the lame jokes just fall apart as soon
as they're constructed. Then there are those which build its
comedy around a premise, and explore simple themes and issues
without the need to artificially craft unbelivable slapstick,
combining elements of wit and rapid fire exchanges, sometimes
with naughty innuendoes, in a complete package to entertain.
The House Bunny is the latter, and it works, even if you're
a guy trying to dismiss this as chick flick fluff. Written
by Karen McCullah Lutz and Kirsten Smith, this could be the
new Clueless, with the engineering of self and others in the
popularity stakes, only that it involves some elements of
communal survival too in the form of sorority house existentialism.
When one mentions The Playboy Mansion, images of bikini clad
artificially asset-enhanced women prancing around comes to
mind, and one would think what their career paths would be
like, if not to one day grace the centerfold and be Playboy
Playmate of the Month. For Shelley Darlingson (Anna Faris),
an abandoned child who grew up in Hugh Hefner's Mansion, this
is her lifelong goal, but is deemed too old and gets unceremoniously
tossed out of the place she calls home, with fate leading
her to a sorority house of unpopular girls with low self esteem.
The comedy comes fast and furious here, not only with some
really slapstick moments such as the classical spoof of the
Marilyn Monroe scene you see in the trailers, but in the dialogue.
Word of advice is to pay close attention to what is being
said, which is difficult as you'll find yourself, as with
others in the audience, laughing out loud at the bimbotic
Shelley. There's some real wit that's well thought out in
crafting these moments, and on the other hand, they help add
a tinge of sadness and pity to Shelley as she lives a life
totally oblivious to the big bad world out there, but has
in her own ways of partying and beauty tips, to address adversary
as they come along in a protracted b*tch fest with rival families.
Anna Faris owns the role. While she has cut her teeth with
bad comedies like the Scary Movie franchise, here she demonstrates
that she's more than capable of shouldering a top notch comedy
that doesn't resort to toilet humor or mindless spoofs. With
that maximizer and impossible heels, she brings to life the
stereotypical view of a Playboy Bunny, which got somewhat
bogged down by a romantic subplot with Oliver (Colin Hanks)
as she tries to get intellectual for him. Her role as the
Zeta sorority house mom continued to enhance the superficial
appreciation of the female form through the transformation
of her charges from forgettables to hot chicks, but the well
balanced story, which is not without its loopholes (a bit
of a stretch how far those Calendar money would go, and of
a chronological debate as well), does get to address such
superficiality in relationships and appeal, and the deceit
of oneself thinking that popularity stakes are the be all
and end all.
You can bet that the supporting cast also had a riot of a
time, though mostly through their playing of sterotyped, one-dimensional
characters who flip the other way with Shelley's 101 crash
course on hotness. Losers typically get associated with the
bespectacled intellectual nerd, the goth chick, a girl too
shy to talk face to face, a really gruff looking tomboy and
the likes. While it does have a message in that one should
be individuals and not be conformed to what society expects
one to be, it does show that such conformation do reap in
But let's not go there unnecessarily shall we? The House Bunny
is a load of pure fun, and it would be an absolute crowd pleaser
given the highly effective Farris fronting the role, and the
carefully engineered comedy that comes with the package.
(I'm pledging Zeta too. So nice)
Review by Stefan Shih