Finally, an exploration into the deep similarities between sorority girls and skin models.
The House Bunny is the tale of Shelly Darlington (Anna Faris), the happiest girl in the world. Shelley is a Playboy bunny who lives at the mansion and loves every second of her Hef-infused life -- until she ages out of bunnydom and is summarily kicked out on her fluffy white cotton tail. With nowhere to go, no job skills, and no experience in the real world, Shelley roams Los Angeles in her beat up old car, bemoaning her bad fat. That is, until she happens across the Zeta Alpha Zeta sorority house -- in peril of losing its charter unless they can pledge a record number of girls during this year's rush. Shelley is just the bunny for the job.
Anna Faris has a plain girl's humor in a hot girl's bod. So it's easy to get on board with the idea of her as an ousted Playboy bunny making the leap to sorority house mother. It seemed to make total sense: Playboy bunnies, sorority girls -- why hadn't someone thought of this before? And who more perfect for the role than Faris?
Unfortunately, The House Bunny falls short of these hopeful expectations. It is true that Faris was ideal casting. She looks every inch the part, weighing something in the neighborhood of a cellulite-free 16 pounds as she prances around in the ridiculously skimpy, marabou-covered bunny-appropriate attire. And she gives her all to the role, finally getting her chance to carry a movie instead of forever being typecast as the supporting girl. But the script just isn't there.
The House Bunny was written by the ladies who dreamed up Legally Blonde (Karen McCullah Lutz and Kirsten Smith) but it seems like going back to the well wasn't the best idea. We know they can make ditzy blondes funny, but it appears they used all the good jokes in the first go-around. As a result, Faris is left struggling to make lemonade out of crappy and über-tired one-liners.
The ragtag team of sorority girls she "rehabilitates" (made up of Dana Goodman, Kiely Williams, and Kat Dennings,among others) couldn't be less funny in their ugly duckling state and less improved in their glam state -- even when director Fred Wolf (Strange Wilderness) throws in American Idol's Katharine McPhee and Bruce-Demi daughter Rumer Willis as stunt casting. He even manages to make Shelley's love interest, Oliver (played by Colin Hanks) ridiculously dorky and unattractive. Colin Hanks!
In fact, the only one who escapes The House Bunny unscathed is Emma Stone (The Rocker, Superbad) whose natural humor and magnetic je ne sais quoi manage to rise to the top despite all other factors conspiring against her.
In short, The House Bunny is a disappointment for those going in with high hopes. If you expect something totally middling and predictable -- or can be entirely sated by an hour and a half of watching Anna Faris in the teensiest of outfits -- then you'll probably be all right with the result.