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The House Bunny

The House Bunny

Review by Jack Foley

IndieLondon Rating: 3 out of 5

DVD SPECIAL FEATURES: House Bunny Style; The Girls of Zeta; Calendar Girls; Anna Faris: House Mom; The Girls Upstairs; Colin Hanks: Mr. Nice Guy; From Song to Set: Katherine McPhee; From Tour Bus to Trailer: Tyson Ritter; Look Who Dropped By; Zetas Transformed; Getting Ready for a Party; House Bunny Memories; I Know What Boys Like Music Video; Introduction to ‘I Know What Boys Like’; Deleted Scenes.

AS VAPID as its premise suggests, The House Bunny is nevertheless a fun romp of a movie that finally delivers a comedic role worthy of Anna Faris’ talents.

Hitherto best known for her recurring role in the Scary Movie franchise, as well as the brain-dead likes of Just Friends and Waiting, Faris here steps up to the challenge of headlining a big Hollywood comedy, as well as executive producing.

Shelley Darlington (Faris) has lived at the Playboy Mansion for the past nine years and dreams of nothing more than landing a much coveted centre-spread. Upon celebrating her 27th birthday, however, she’s unceremoniously evicted for being too old.

Homeless and without any essential life skills, Shelley eventually finds a new job as the house mother of an unpopular sorority house on a university campus, and duly sets about transforming the fortunes of its geeky inhabitants, as well as capturing the heart of Oliver (Colin Hanks), a kindly care home worker.

The House Bunny is, essentially, a feel-good rags to riches tale that’s been done a thousand times before. Everything is signposted, and the joke rate is suitably hit-and-miss. But thanks to Faris, it remains a fun confection that works best if you just go with it.

As Shelley, Faris mixes ditziness with a heart of gold, issuing pearls of wisdom such as “the eyes are the nipples of the face”, while encouraging you to root for her through thick and thin.

Her scenes with Colin Hanks’ Oliver, in particular, are both cringe inducing and sweet, while her chemistry with fellow sorority girls, including Superbad’s Emma Stone and Charlie Bartlett’s Kat Dennings, is always believable, even if the script occasionally lets them down.

Fred Wolf directs with plenty of energy, too, tossing in countless fun musical montages and somehow avoiding the need to overdose too heavily on the saccharine. The end result is made for the term “guilty pleasure”.

Certificate: 12A
Running time: 97mins
UK DVD Release: February 9, 2009