Review: The House Bunny
PLOT: Shelley Darlingson is the luckiest Playboy Playmate ever. It seems that she is up for the coveted Centerfold and she is about to have a big old birthday bash as she turns 27. But the day after the party, she is given a letter from Hugh Hefner asking her to take all her possessions and leave. Down on her luck, she manages to convince a bunch of losers at a Sorority that she could change their image. After all, this group of unpopular girls needs to have a bunch of new pledges in order to continue or they will be shut down for good. Imagine what having a Playboy Bunny living at your sorority could do. And thanks to Shelley, the girls are able to turn their lives around and even help a Bunny in distress when it comes to dating.
Now before I start, I have to say that I am not the target audience for THE HOUSE BUNNY, like not at all. Strangely enough, there is plenty going for it that should have made it perfect for me. There are a ton of attractive women, including of course the lovely Anna Faris as Shelley Darlingson, a Playboy Bunny who is getting too old for the part. In fact, I was thinking that this might be a sort of crude sex comedy that pushed the boundaries yet offered up a cute message to go with it. Nope. Not at all. This is more of an Avril Lavigne (who is featured on the soundtrack) music video with a not so clever story. Basically, a Playboy Bunny who finds a group of awkward sorority girls who need some guidance when it comes to guys. But of course, we have to be taught that looks aren’t everything, sometimes that really dreamy guy, aka Colin Hanks, wants more than a hottie of the month. It’s all about “girl power”… and I thought the Spice Girls had long since been forgotten.
My main problem with this film is the script. The humor is spread so thin, the jokes are usually groan inducing as opposed to even coming close to laughter. One scene has the ability to make hot chicks washing a car seem dull and uninspired. Poor Emma Stone. She is the head of the sorority which takes in this ex-Playboy Bunny to be the house mother. She tries so hard to make it work, but nobody can pull off thinking that taking a hose and spraying water all over your pants would be sexy. Her character was much too smart to think that was hot. In fact, even though she looked the part, it is so poorly written that every scene she’s in feels like a different character. As for the rest of the loser sorority girls, they are so clichéd that none of them feel real for a single moment. The most painful of these girls is Dana Goodman as Carrie Mae. I really don’t know what they were thinking here. She is the girl that speaks like a guy and seems more like Alice the Goon in the Popeye cartoons then the cute/ugly sorority girl.
I mentioned girl power because that seems to be what this movie is about. The idea that all women can teach something to each other, and each one has something to offer. But with this, I rarely felt like anybody was teaching anything to anyone besides Ms. Faris and Ms. Stone. They are by far the most fleshed out characters and I really think down deep that there could have been a really funny movie here. Both of these actresses are very talented and every so often they were able to rise above the material and make me smile. But it seems the filmmakers didn’t really have a clear view of the film they were trying to make. It was part screwball comedy, part morality tale, and even a little bit of a sex comedy. But it never seems to know what direction it should go in next. While Anna is able to pull off a bunch of the pratfalls and such but they don‘t work because they seem like someone mixed up the reels with a SCARY MOVIE flick. Although I did love her reaction to her Marilyn Monroe, THE SEVEN YEAR ITCH moment. Notice I said her “reaction”, not the scene itself.
I liked Colin Hanks here. He brought about the only bit of human element as a possible love interest for Shelley. But the bad guys really should have been the bland guys. The preppy and popular Sienna is about as dull as you could imagine. Leslie del Rosario as the official bitch of the school makes you wonder why anybody would want to impress her. She could learn a few things from Shannen Doherty or any of the three HEATHERS about how to make the villain fun. As for the reason that Shelley gets tossed out of the Playboy Mansion, it is so poorly written that it is not even worth referring to. It felt as if they wanted to add that extra plot point in at the last minute and sadly, it was treated as such.
There is very little charm in this misguided bunny’s tale. It lacks the surprisingly sweet nature of LEGALLY BLONDE, or even the crude sorority humor of something like REVENGE OF THE NERDS. With a little less emphasis on a bunch of characters you could care less about and maybe a story that isn’t suffering an identity crisis, this could have been much better than it is. Yet with all this said, I do feel this may very well appeal to the Hannah Montana crowd. Yes, there are a few moments that are maybe a little more crude than The Disney Channel would have to offer. But for those pre-teen girls that want to see a flick that’s heavy on the chick flick-ness, then they may enjoy what this bunny has to offer. I just hope that Faris and Stone get the comedy they both deserve next time around. You know, one that you don’t need to be a tween to enjoy. My rating 2/10 -- JimmyO