When I first saw the trailer for The House Bunny, I distinctly remember using the phrase ‘unwatchable’. So it was with great reluctance that I sat down in the theatre to see this film (punishment for making my girlfriend sit through Eagle Eye). I never, and I mean NEVER, would have guessed that I’d enjoy this film on any level. Don’t get me wrong, a film about Playboy bunnies and college sororities is right up my alley. But I figured another movie about teenage girls learning to ‘be themselves’ was the last thing I needed. I guess I was wrong.
The incredibly adorable Anna Faris stars as Shelly, a dim but sweet playboy bunny about to celebrate her 27th birthday with Hef and the gang. The party is so good, even Shaq turns up. No wonder it’s the best night of her life. The next morning however, she’s asked to vacate the lot. Fair enough really, she was getting a bit long in the tooth. After briefly trying out homelessness, Shelly decides to move into a sorority house. Thing is, she’s not exactly ‘college-material’, so she opts to be the den mother for Zeta house, the requisite group of misfits that are normally seen in films like this.
This is completely and utterly Faris’ film. Her bubbly personality and kind-heart really shine through the vapid, mini-skirted exterior. If she wasn’t in this film, there would be very few compliments to report. I do wish however, that she had a movie to compliment her sublime comic timing. Instead, she’s left to elevate standard material. Oh well. Beggars can’t be choosers.
Superbad’s Emma Stone is also great as leader of the Zeta house geeks. She’s starting to show real potential as a future leading actress, and a very funny comedienne. It’s just a shame that funny ladies like Stone, Faris, and even Tina Fey are given sub-par material to work with, compared to their male counterparts. Saying that, this is definitely a showcase for female talents. The one major male cast-member (Colin Hanks) isn’t given much to do except be ridiculously charming. A chip off the old block, that one!
Overall, there is not much to discuss about The House Bunny. There’s not much depth or any overarching messages. Maybe, “stay true to yourself”, but that might be giving the film a little too much credit. Or perhaps, “you can achieve anything with some eyeliner and the phone number of a good party planner”. Well, now I’m just making up themes.
There are a lot worse things you could do than see The House Bunny. That might not sound like a ringing endorsement, but considering this is a film made almost specifically for 14-year-old girls (a target market I am unfortunately not a part of), I’d say that’s the most complimentary I can be without having to seriously reassess my concept of entertainment. I mean, if The House Bunny was good, maybe there’s a chance even Beverly Hills Chihuahua could be watchable. Whoa! Easy now. One step at a time.