The House Bunny took a half-decent idea, gave it half-decent treatment, and thus by the laws of filmmaking mathematics turned out a quarter-decent film. Starring Anna Faris as beautiful but braindead Shelley Darlingson, it starts out with an ill-advised talkover sequence that attempts to pull at your heartstrings (and fails rather miserably) by pointing out that Shelley was an orphan, but has found a home with the other braindead girls at the Playboy Mansion. She loves the lifestyle, the other girls, the waiters who wear about as little as the girls (and whose brain capacity is similarly questionable), and Hugh Hefner, who defies description really (I'm sure you'll insert your own description as you read). When she turns 27, she's told to leave the mansion as she's too old. Broken-hearted and even rejected by her cat, she tries to find a new home, and go on a voyage of self-discovery. Or something.
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Soon enough she manages to become the house mother of a sorority house, "Zeta House", full of despised intelligent girls and lacking the funding to keep going another year. Bet you can't guess what happens next? Oh but you can, of course... Shelley turns them all into popular, sexy confident young women, while learning herself that she can be pretty and have some intelligence as well.
Now I have no real objection to the plot as such, predictable though it is. The real problem I had with it was the they supposedly intelligent girls all came across as rather stupid anyway, albeit they knew one or two facts and figures. The fact that some of them are already obviously pretty while the rest are outlandishly weird makes sure that you know subtlety is not to be included in The House Bunny. Simply put, all that happens in the film is that they are transformed from one kind of rather stupid girl into a slightly different type of stupid girl. Hardly inspiring, and most definitely not interesting.
However all would be saved if it was at least funny - sadly, it's not. That's not to say that there isn't the odd flashes of genuinely amusing humour, but these are very few and far between, and most of the film's attempts at humour are quite frankly painful to watch. The humour seems to aim straight at the early teen market and push the 12A / PG-13 rating as far as it can possibly go. There're a few obscenities and quite a lot of innuendo, and of course there is a lot of skin on display (including one scene of Anna Faris completely naked - viewed from behind). Nothing amazingly shocking I suppose, but most of it seemed to be there purely for the sake of it. Most of the humour tended to be visual, and I've heard funnier dialogue at funerals - it was that bad. Just occasionally it rises to the bearable or even the quite good. That's very rare though...
The girls in the sorority house include Harmony (Katherine McPhee) - very pretty but very pregnant (which kind of goes against the whole idea that none of the girls know how to attract boys?!?!) and Natalie (Emma Stone), who at least comes across as a fairly balanced if unbelievably dull character. Others include a girl who's worn a spine brace for years longer than she needs to, a girl who never speaks even though she can, a girl with piercings and a natural loathing of pretty much anything on two legs, one who looks and sounds like a guy in drag, etc. It just wasn't funny. There are moments that are supposed to be heartrending (I think), but since none of the characters were really ones you could care about, they didn't work.
The only one who really might come out of this with some credit is Colin Hanks, who as Oliver, the token male love interest, at least created a character that was reasonable likeable. Anna Faris tries hard to be sweet and loveable as well as gorgeous and dumb, but she just comes across as dumb most of the time - despite the fact that I really like her in a similar (if less sexy) role in Scary Movie 4. Emma Stone also tried hard to make her scenes work, and was probably the most likeable of the female characters, but frankly she looked like she didn't know why she was there a lot of the time. Considering the script was so weak, I don't really blame her!
The film only just scraped the second star for its rating, but I have to admit that there were one or two moments that made me chuckle. Other than that... well, the soundtrack was okay, pretty good for the most part - probably the best part of the film, in fact.
So, unless Anna Faris in a number of skimpy costumes is enough to convince you that a film is worth watching, stay away from The House Bunny!
Legally Blonde (in fact The House Bunny had the same writers as Legally Blond, Karen McCullah Lutz and Kirsten Smith - considering they wrote that and also 10 Things I Hate About You, they seem to be losing their ability as time goes on... but hopefully they'll be back on form soon!)
St Trinians (2007)
The above all have sort of similar themes.... basically someone being a misfit and changing the people they're with, while being changed themselves. Of these films I still like Legally Blond the most (though Wild Child and St Trinians are enjoyable in their own way), mainly because Reese Witherspoon is so damn adorable in the role of Elle. The terrible sequel - not written by Lutz and Smith - proved that even she couldn't save a movie with a really bad script!)
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Movie Mood: Teen-Flick
Viewing Method: Other
Film Completeness: Looked complete to me.
Worst Part of this Film: Script