The House Bunny

Posted on August 21, 2008 at 6:00 pm

Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for sex-related humor, partial nudity and brief strong language.
Profanity: Crude and strong language including f-word, insults, and references to body parts and functions
Alcohol/ Drugs: A lot of party drinking
Violence/ Scariness: Comic slapstick violence
Diversity Issues: It is supposed to be empowering to dress in skimpy clothes and pretend to be dumb
Date Released to Theaters: August 23, 2008

Being a good sport is part of what makes Anna Faris such a gifted comic actress. She has never had any hesitation about doing whatever it takes to be funny, no matter how ridiculous, embarrassing, or dangerous. Through the “Scary Movie” series she allowed herself to be subject to all kinds of movie torture and humiliation but always maintained an open-hearted good humor that kept us laughing and kept us rooting for her. In “The House Bunny,” the screenplay inflicts a little more injury on Faris than it intends to by committing the very sins it half-heartedly attempts to parody. But even when the movie ignores her comic timing to focus on her lovely face and figure, Faris is an engaging performer.

She plays Shelley, a lonely girl who grew up in an orphanage and finally found the family she wanted when she became a Bunny and moved into the Playboy Mansion. It was a paradise of parties and girlfriends. But then she turned 27 — “That’s 59 in bunny years,” the bartender advises her, and is booted out. The closest thing she can find to the Playboy Mansion is a sorority house, and she is hired in desperation by a sorority on the brink of being shut down for failure to attract new members because its members are all socially inept. Cue the makeover montage.

Faris is every bit as adorable as the Goldie Hawn-ish role requires and there are funny moments that don’t even appear in the trailer. Colin Hanks looks appropriately disconcerted as the nursing home manager who likes Shelley but is not sure how to respond when she overdoes her concept of what makes her appealing and Emma Stone (“Superbad”) and Kat Dennings (“40 Year Old Virgin”) have some success in overcoming the one-dimensionality of their characters, especially in comparison to the tone-deaf line readings in the cameos from Hef and the bunnies. One of the sorority girls tries to talk with her mouth full and makes the mistake of letting boys know that she is smart! One has facial piercings and attitude! How hilarious! And guess what! Under those shlumpadinka clothes, they are all long-legged hotties!

There’s a moment when the girls realize that their success has gone to their heads and they must be reminded — after dishing on the looks of candidates — that it is what is inside that counts. But the message is undercut by the constant reiteration of the more important message that being a virgin is an embarrassment, you should never let a boy know that you know more than he does, and what matters is being really hot and really popular. There is no indication that anyone of these “students” has any interest in school or work, any curiosity, any ambition other than getting the most cute boys to come to their parties. No one is expecting a movie like “The House Bunny” to be profound, but it is fair to expect some integrity and consistency. The slight message about the importance of what is inside is lost amid the coarse humor and lingering, loving footage of Faris’ smooth belly and micro-miniskirts. Faris as co-producer should know better and Faris as performer should recognize — as Shelly does — that sometimes doing what is right is more important than being a good sport.

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13 Replies to “The House Bunny”

  1. Please do get a life and you might have an iota of a chance to even barely begin to fathom the ability to recognize anna faris as being this generation’s lucille ball.

  2. Thanks for writing, Dave, but did you read what I wrote? I agree with you about Anna Faris. She is a brilliant comedy actress and I hope one day she gets another movie worthy of her talents. I think so far her best opportunity to show what she can do was in “Lost in Translation,” but I am a big fan of all of her performances, including “Southern Belles” and “My Super Ex-Girlfriend.” I’m glad we agree! (So I guess that means I do have a life?)

  3. Thanks for the candid review. I have a middle school daughter who wants to see this (6th grade) but, I think she’ll have to wait, hopefully long enough to lose interest! 🙂

  4. Dave, Please do learn to read and you might have an iota of a chance to even barely begin to make responsive comments.

  5. I am a 38 year old mother who went to this movie tonight with some girlfriends thinking it would be a fun girls night out. We ended up walking out of the movie and wish we would have sooner. We were not the only ones to do so. My regret is that I didn’t ‘Movie Mom’ this one first as I usually do. It is very inappropriate. By the way, we asked for our money back and they gave us a pass to use for another movie. Thank you for your great reviews. My kids are used to me saying, “I have to Movie Mom it first”… My mistake this time was not following the same “rule” for a movie I was seeing without them. Learned a good lesson! Thanks again!

  6. I wanted to add a little male perspective as far as showing a man in a positive way. It is true that men were portrayed negatively as only being interested in females when they were attractive looking and having parties. However, the character played by Colin Hanks was portrayed in a positive way. He was willing to accept Shelley just the way she was and not concerned with whether she was dressed sexy or overly smart. He saw her and liked her for how she was inside.

  7. I agree that Colin Hanks played an appealing character and a strength of the movie was the way it showed his good values across the board. The fact that Shelley liked him also said some good things about her. Even if she thought a nursing home was a home for nurses!

  8. If you walk out of this movie before it ends, you end up missing the point of the entire thing!
    Yes, there is a rating on this film of PG-13 for very good reasons, but that’s why it’s there. This was a cute movie that shows that mean, catty girls are the ones whom no one should emulate, while girls who end up being who they are and stand up with confidence to be that way are the true “heroes”. The relationships portrayed between the protagonist(s) and the men in the movie were not over the top, but showed men’s vunerablilty and hesitancy as well.
    Keep an open mind, and remember – it’s a comedy…based on a former playmate… know what to expect!

  9. I appreciate the post but it would be much more helpful if you would let us know what you like about the movie. Insults are not arguments and your comments (I removed the other one for violation of the rules of posting) just promote the idea that fans of this film are not capable of justifying their opinions.
    Many people would assume that anyone so rude must also be ignorant, but I have raised teenagers so I know better. If you have something you would like to say about why you disagree with what I wrote, I’d be glad to hear it.

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