The House Bunny
dir Fred Wolf
scr Karen McCullah Lutz, Kirsten Smith
with Anna Faris, Colin Hanks, Emma Stone, Kat Dennings Katharine McPhee, Rumer Willis, Monet Mazur, Owen Benjamin, Tyson Ritter, Sarah Wright, Christopher McDonald, Beverly D'Angelo
release US 22.Aug.08, UK 10.Oct.08
08/US 1h37
The House Bunny
59 in bunny years: Faris

hanks mcdonald d'angelo
R E V I E W    B Y    R I C H    C L I N E
The House Bunny There's a sublimely goofy tone to this profoundly inept film that keeps us smiling from start to finish, and it has everything to do with the winning charm of Anna Faris. Plus some hysterically funny dialog.

Airhead blonde Shelley (Faris) is an orphan who was never adopted, but at 17 went to live in the Playboy Mansion. Ten years later, she's asked to move out (after all, 27 is 59 in bunny years), and stumbles upon a sorority house in need of a housemother. She adopts the misfit girls and "skimpifies" them into popular hotties in an effort to keep their house from closing. She also starts to fall for a nice guy (Hanks) for a change, and tries to smarten up a bit at university.

The plot is essentially a rehash of the writers' own Legally Blonde, finding the brain behind the beauty and ending in a flood of contrived sentimentality. But by then, we have so fallen in love with Faris that they could pretty much throw anything at us and we'd still leave the cinema in a good mood. Story-wise, there isn't a moment of originality, and director Wolf seems uninterested in anything besides getting the girls into the most revealing outfits possible. Not to mention hanging out at the mansion with Hef and the Girls Next Door.

Fortunately, Faris is well up to the challenge and creates a deeply likeable bimbo who seems as surprised to discover her own depth as everyone around her. She delivers her dialog impeccably, getting laughs out of the silliest lines imaginable ("Being a centrefold is the biggest honour; it says, 'I'm naked in a magazine'"). She also seizes on some seriously stupid running gags and makes them work, such as her demon-voice mnemonic device.

Alas, the film never even tries to deal with the serious issues it raises about sexism, drifting into the most simplistic and corny situations and throwing all logic out the window (how does a house with no cash throw the most over-the-top party imaginable?). But then, it's so much fun that we don't really care. As long as we're laughing all the way to the closing credits.

cert 12 themes, language, innuendo 19.Sep.08

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© 2008 by Rich Cline, Shadows on the Wall