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  Publicity Stills of
"The House Bunny"
(Courtesy of Columbia TriStar)

Genre: Comedy
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 inside.

Shelley 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.

Movie Review:

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 certain rewards.

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.

Movie Rating:

(I'm pledging Zeta too. So nice)

Review by Stefan Shih


. You Don't Mess With The Zohan (2008)

. Click (2006)

. Grandma's Boy (2006)

. Scary Movie 4 (2006)

. My Super Ex-Girlfriend (2006)

. Deuce Bigalow: European Gigolo (2005)

. Just Friends (2005)


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