Finding family. Shelley Darlingson was raised in an orphanage, finally happy when she blossoms into a fox and moves into the Playboy Mansion. Unfortunately, she's summarily expelled on her 27th birthday(she's now too old). In desperation she takes a job as house mother for a sorority of misfits losing their house for lack of members. They have but a few months to find 30 pledges, or a sorority of mean girls will take over their place. Shelley figures that girls will pledge a house that boys find interesting, so she sets out to make the Zetas alluring, not act too smart, and host great parties. Can she succeed, and what about her own makeover? Sabotage is everywhere, plus it's hard to be one's self.Written by
Faris is good but the movie doesn't make her a centerfold
"The House Bunny" has a funny concept and what looks like a "Legally Blonde" form of execution. If Anna Faris, most commonly known as the one portraying/making fun of the Neve Campbell "Scream" role in the "Scary Movies" was ever going to become the next big female comedienne the time would be now. She showed she was willing to make fun of herself in those movies but I still wonder if she can play a sincere, actual human being rather than a character meant to be the punch line most of the time. "Bunny" was written by "Blonde" screenwriters Karen McCullah Lutz and Kirsten Smith so that could be good news but a lot of the weight of this movie is going to rest on the shoulders of it star. Reese Witherspoon made that movie what it was and the big question here is, can Faris do the same?
She plays Shelley, a ditzy playboy bunny with big dreams of becoming the next centerfold who instead is tossed out on her ass by Hugh after her 27th birthday. Shelley went from the orphanage to the mansion so she never quite got the fill gist of the outside world. Now homeless and with very few survival skills, she has no idea what to do next. Just through happenstance, she encounters something that looks like a mini Playboy mansion but is in fact the best college sorority on campus. They decline her for house mother but she finds a home with the Zeta sorority, a group of misfit girls, led by Natalie (Emma Stone), who seriously need to improve their image and attract new members in order to stop the college from closing their house. Enter Shelley to give the girls make-overs.
This movie made me laugh out loud twice. One involved the manhole cover joke in the trailer, and the other was a really good jab at Bob Saget. The rest of the movie is likable and has a nice message but really can't seem to wring that many laughs out of a good premise. It's a parody against the bimbo ideology, first having Shelley turn the girls into mindless, skimpy-looking prostitutes only to realize later that you also have to have substance too. Sometimes it gets a few chuckles and other times it comes off looking embarrassingly sitcom-ish, like when Shelley tries to look brainy to impress a guy by wearing very thick glasses that make her dizzy, but overall the script isn't as smart or funny as "Legally Blonde" and that hurts its chances. The movie also treats some of the secondary characters in really bad taste, like a girl whose such a misfit she actually talks like Frankenstein and walks like Igor, and I was confused by some others, like a girl who supposedly is bad with boys and yet is pregnant.
I was also confused by the mental abilities of the main character. At times she seems dumber than dirt and at other times she seems almost profound. That she works regardless of this has less to do with the script and more to do with Anna Faris. I don't think this will be the star-making role I thought it would be for her but she gives Shelley a very sweet, genial nature and she is willing to throw herself into silly situations with an innocent and goofy charm. Emma Stone is also pretty funny in this movie, dialing up the dorky meter to about an 8. I feel bad for Colin Hanks though. This kid just doesn't seem to be getting many chances to shine, and here he's wasted as the romantic lead in a movie that's pretty low on the romance.
"The House Bunny" begins, middles, and ends like most college movies do, just unfortunately its not funny or clever enough to distract from the generic plotting. Most of the secondary characters are also wasted as well but maybe, it will put Anna Faris on some people's radars. She is a very funny comic actress and with the right script, its possible she could be the next big thing.
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