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The House Bunny: Generic Sorority Comedy

To be honest, I really wanted The House Bunny to be great. I didn't expect it to be, but I wished it would surprise me and turn out to be fun and hilarious. Amidst the constant comedic bombardment from the Ferrells, Stillers and Apatows of the world, I wanted there to be a totally kickass, stand-out female-led comedy. And while Anna Faris is endearingly goofy, the movie overall is just another manufactured cookie-cutter cutout of the same ol', same ol' (not unlike an actual Playboy bunny, come to think of it).

You can glean pretty much all the necessary information about the plot from the movie's trailer. Playboy bunny Shelley (Faris) learns that she's been kicked out of the Playboy mansion after her 27th birthday. She wanders around until she spots a row of houses that look like miniature Playboy mansions: frat and sorority houses. Shelley ultimately finds herself at the Zeta Alpha Zeta house, thus far led by the adorably nerdy Natalie. ZAZ is the place where the "misfit" sorority girls go (you know, ones who have piercings, or a back brace, or were raised on a farm). The girls need to get at least 30 new pledges in order to keep the ZAZ house, so Shelley appoints herself as the sorority's housemother and gets to work changing around the sorority's reputation. For more on how she goes about doing this,

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Changing around the girls' image consists of giving them all makeovers so they look more conventionally pretty, and schooling them in the ways of flirting. The basis for this logic is that pledges will see that these girls can get boys, and they'll want to join up with these girls. Shelley instructs the girls on how to teeter around in insanely high heels, wear extensions and use Waterbras. In a scene that made me question what decade we're in, Shelley advises Natalie against coming across as intelligent in front of boys because they "don't like girls who are too smart." Later, Natalie falls for the smart, studious Oliver (Colin Hanks) and she goes about trying to make herself into more of an intellectual in order to impress him. But because that's not who she really is, it doesn't work so well.

Many similarities could be drawn between Legally Blonde's Elle Woods and The House Bunny's Shelley (and unsurprisingly, these two movies were written by the same people). Both characters are sunny, blond, girlishly sweet and underestimated because of the way they look. But the comedy in Legally Blonde often comes from her proving to the doubters that she's actually quite clever. In House Bunny we're laughing at Shelley's mispronounced words and dazed confusion over everyday things. And though the silliness of her misunderstandings is funny, she also sometimes seems to border on brain damaged.

Toward the end there's some vague references to the idea that maybe — just maybe — Shelley doesn't actually know everything there is to know about getting boys and being popular, and that it's better to just be yourself. But the thing is, even after they all come to that conclusion, they're still the glossier versions of themselves, and I found myself longing for the "freak" girls from the beginning of the movie — the ones with some character and sense of individuality. Of course I'd like those girls to be confident and well-liked, too, I just wish that the only way to achieve that wasn't by making each of them look like Hilary Duff. The message still seems to be that you can be an individual — but only after you've reached a certain base level of acceptable prettiness. I'm not saying I'm surprised, but it's a shame that this opportunity was wasted. A more fun and more interesting storyline might have been to have the "misfit" sorority succeed without having to wear pounds of makeup, tiny dresses and push-up bras.

Photos courtesy of Sony Pictures


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My-Opinion My-Opinion 7 years
meh....
lexichloe lexichloe 7 years
Too bad for Anna, I love her. From all the trailers I anticipated it to be a cheap spin of "Legally Blonde." I guess I'll just watch her Oscar-worthy acting in "Just Friends."
g1amourpuss g1amourpuss 7 years
Everything ilanac13 said. ..I am DYING to see Vicky Cristina Barcelona, though, omg.
soulight soulight 7 years
I still want to see this movie. In most bad/ so-so movies I feel Anna Faris is the redeeming quality, like Just Friends I wanted more scenes with her in it!
fleurfairy fleurfairy 7 years
Everyone can stand to look like the best versions of themselves. When you look good, you feel good. So the makeovers don't offend me.
californiagirlx7 californiagirlx7 7 years
I think this movie looks cute, I'll probably end up seeing it even though I'm sick of the storyline about girls changing themselves to make guys like them. It just seems like a movie that will be a nice, mindless escape from all of the Fall dramas heading our way.
Linda-McP Linda-McP 7 years
Thanks for the honest review, Buzz. I think I'll pass on this one.
princess_eab princess_eab 7 years
Wow, this sounds terrible and kind of offensive. I was gonna go see this, but no more. How sad.
lilkimbo lilkimbo 7 years
I had high hopes for this movie, but was disappointed when I saw it on Wednesday night. It was kind of blech. And if you are in any way involved in Greek life, I don't recommend seeing it, for utter inaccuracies on that alone. I don't expect movies to be entirely realistic, but a little effort might be nice.
nomerz nomerz 7 years
I think it looks cute enough but the premise that girls have to be good-looking to be accepted is sad ... but mostly true. I don't mean to offend anyone, but I think it's our nature as a society. I mean, just think about what the Sugar network is based around ... glossy, gorgeous, celebrities.
ehadams ehadams 7 years
This movie offends me. I hope it tanks.
chippyshero2066 chippyshero2066 7 years
After seeing the repeated promos at Mtv and ditzy acts from Shelley, I passed on seeing it. I have seen Rumur Willis act (she is very good btw), but I wish she had chosen a better script than The House Bunny. Every ditzy line from the character Shelley made me cringe.
JennaV JennaV 7 years
This looks ridiculously lame. Great review...it is validating how I thought.
Entertainment Entertainment 7 years
JCP — I was actually really surprised by Katharine McPhee. She's really cute in this role, and pretty convincing. I don't know what she might be like with a bigger role, but in small doses I liked her.
ilanac13 ilanac13 7 years
i don't care if it got the best reviews or not - i'm still going to see it cause it looks cute and i really have no desire to see a serious movie right now. (unless it's vicky christina barcelona)
JCP0240 JCP0240 7 years
How was Katherine McPhee in it???
kelliegonzo kelliegonzo 7 years
hmm i'm not gonna lie, i'm still totally going to see this. it's too bad, tho. i was hoping it would break a few stereotypes. oh well, i love anna faris!
chatondeneige chatondeneige 7 years
Oh man, I really wanted this one to be good. :(
menthadict menthadict 7 years
This movie actually made me cringe like ahlf the time.
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