The House Bunny

The House Bunny


Reviewed by: Val Kermode

Shelley (Anna Faris) tells us in a voiceover that she began life in an orphanage where nobody wanted to adopt her, but she grew up to be drop dead gorgeous and therefore became a bunny in the Playboy Mansion. (Just like that; don’t ask.) Shelley says “It’s paradise. We are just one big family. I’m so happy. Why would I want to live anywhere else?” Wow! What an advert for the Mansion! No wonder Hugh Hefner was glad to play himself in this film.

The trouble begins when Shelley gets a letter telling her she has to leave. She’s 27, and that’s 59 in bunny years. The letter isn’t really from Hugh, but Shelley doesn’t know it’s just a cruel joke played on her by a rival who wants to beat her to the prize of being the Miss November centrefold. The scenes which explain this later are some of the most excruciatingly amateur in this not so great film.

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Poor homeless Shelley is left to wander the streets of LA in her skimpy, bunny-type clothes and even has to spend a night in jail after an innocent misunderstanding with a cop. But then she happens upon a failing sorority house and decides to become house mother. The house is threatened with closure. The girls are total losers who don’t know how to attract men. Since that is what life is all about, Shelley has to teach them.

It’s makeover time. New hair, new makeup, brightly coloured clothes. The girls make a sexy calendar and soon all the boys are flocking round. But along comes Oliver (Colin Hanks), manager of an old folks home, and Shelley falls for him. The trouble is, he’s not your average guy. He actually likes girls who aren’t airheads. So now the girls get to help Shelley by showing her how to learn serious stuff. Totter into a library. Get a huge pile of very big books. Go to a few lectures. Wear cardigans.

Will Shelley convince Oliver that she’s serious? Will the girls keep their sorority house? Will they all learn that most important lesson in life, how to Be Yourself? Do you care?

Anna Faris plays ditsy like a young Goldie Hawn, though not nearly so well. She appears to have some personality because no one else in the film does. Colin Hanks is passable, but some of the supporting cast are dire. There is some very poor cutting which is confusing. Most of the budget seems to have been spent on the massive fake volcano which features in a party scene.

In an idle moment, and there are plenty, I found myself wondering what really happens to bunny girls when they reach 27.

Reviewed on: 16 Jan 2009
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A cast-off Playboy bunny is put in charge of a sorority house.
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Director: Fred Wolf

Writer: Karen McCullah Lutz, Kirsten Smith

Starring: Anna Faris, Colin Hanks, Emma Stone, Kat Dennings, Katharine McPhee, Christopher McDonald, Rumer Willis

Year: 2008

Runtime: 97 minutes

Country: US


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