Screenwriters: Karen McCullah Lutz, Kirsten Smith
Starring: Anna Faris, Colin Hanks, Emma Stone
Running time: 97 mins
The House Bunny is a strange creature. As a star vehicle, it perfectly showcases the talents of the effervescent Anna Faris, best known for the Scary Movie franchise. Yet as a movie in its own right, it's so dire that this is one bunny you wouldn't mind Elmer Fudd finishing off.
Faris sparkles as dumb but kindhearted blonde Shelley, a Playboy bunny cruelly kicked out of Hugh Hefner's mansion and in need of a similar spacious abode. She soon stumbles across a university and does her best to popularise a group of socially inept, poorly groomed sorority girls in a bid to save their accommodation.
Displaying utter contempt for the audience, The House Bunny rehashes the threadbare makeover plot seen in countless teen movies like Clueless (itself derived from a Jane Austen novel) and expects us to be entertained. We get it - Shelley is a Playmate and has guys drooling over her, while her new geeky uni pals are uniformly ignored. Cue mass transformation into sassy chicks and the lads won't leave them alone. But, schmaltz alert, it's ultimately what's on the inside that counts. Pass the sick bag.
Tangled in among this cliché-ridden story are numerous attempts to amuse, mainly stemming from Shelley's apparent naivety. "This is not a brothel," one tutor barks at her when she enters their Halls of Residence. "Oh, I don't want to make soup," the scantily-clad model replies, batting her luscious eyelids. What makes this deplorable dialogue even worse is that there's a pause afterwards for us to laugh. You can almost hear the ribs cracking under the strain of chuckling so hard.
Amidst all the dross is Anna Faris, shining through like a pearl in sewage. Conveying a great sense of likeability and believability in such a poorly written role requires huge skill, and Faris has excellent comic timing regardless of the material she has been given. On the rare moments when she does have a half decent gag in front of her, she milks it for every drop of laughter - especially in her amusingly accidental fellatio of a copper.
The movie's lame subplots, namely a romance with the Son of Hanks (also known as actor Colin) and a dodgy eviction letter, only serve to drag the whole enterprise down another notch as there are no rewarding payoffs in either case. They also take away screentime from Faris, who is surely deserving of scripts that are far less nauseating and insulting as that of The House Bunny.
Come on Elmer, where are you?
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