The House Bunny – Blu-ray Review
By Frankie Dees Dec 21, 2008, 11:43 GMT
Shelley (Ana Faris) is living a carefree life until a rival gets her tossed out of the Playboy Mansion. With nowhere to go, fate delivers her to the sorority girls from Zeta Alpha Zeta. Unless they can sign a new pledge class, the seven socially clueless women will lose their house to the scheming girls of Phi Iota Mu. ...more
Whatever pleasures are to be derived from this comedy, which combines the go-dumb-blondes! flavor of 'Legally Blonde' with half-baked college movie goofiness, comes completely from the considerable comedic skills of Anna Faris - who headlines 'The House Bunny' in an otherwise trite comedy.
The House Bunny was produced by Adam Sandler and his production company Happy Madison and directed by Fred Wolf (who directed another Happy Madison production, 'Strange Wilderness', this past year). Outside of the somewhat funny conceit of a Playboy bunny getting kicked out of the mansion and having to survive on her, ahem, wits, there's not one original or inventive idea.
But luckily, that didn't stop Anna Faris from completely throwing herself into the half-witted role and saving the film from being a complete waste of time. Faris stars as Shelly Darlingson, a 27-year old Playboy Bunny living the good life with Hugh Hefner and endless shopping and parties. One morning, a note from Hefner comes and Darlingson thinks it could her first centerfold spread offer but it's instead an eviction notice - at 27, she's too old ('27 is 59 in bunny years').
So evicted with nothing but the junker car she arrived in, she hits the streets bewildered and lost and with no real skill sets. She stumbles upon a college campus and realizes that being a housemother for a sorority would be perfect. Getting laughed out of all the popular sororities, she finds one sorority in shambles and about to be closed down due to lack of pledges.
With only a small group of rough-around-the-edges nerds, misfits and social pariahs, Zeta is the laughing-stock of the campus which is perfect for Shelly to come in and transform into the school's most popular sorority. With Shelly helping all the gals, the girls in turn help her out to impress a smart nerdy guy (Colin Hanks) who she develops a crush on.
All generally pedestrian stuff with almost every plot development as easy to spot as Faris' perfectly honed legs (err...wait...I mean...). Will there be more than a couple make-overs? Will there be lessons of self-esteem and beauty? Will each of the girls have their little small obstacles to overcome? Yes on all accounts and it's all as derivative as it sounds. Although the story has almost nothing to give us, Faris still made me smile throughout.
Her conviction to the role from the line delivery to the physical slapstick is right on and luckily she's at the center of almost every scene. Supporting roles don't have much to offer with Emma Stone, Kat Dennings, Katharine McPhee and Rumer Willis all getting one note to play. Rumer WIllis has a body brace...ha!..McPhee is pregnant...heh...Kat Dennings shops at Hot Topics...Bwahaa! And Colin Hanks doesn't fare much better with the same usual nice guy schtick (aww, he's recruiting for a nursing home...).
The 2.35:1 1080p AVC encode looks great, however, with a bright and colorful look that fits the subject matter. All of Faris' skimpy pink outfits just bounce off the screen. A Dolby TrueHD 5.1 track is quite good too with clean dialogue.
Separating about an hour's worth of featurettes into twelve different segments, we get 'Anna Faris: House Mom', 'The Girls of Zeta', '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', 'House Bunny Style', 'Zetas Transformed', 'Getting Ready for a Party', 'Calendar Girls' and 'House Bunny Memories'.
Most of these titles are self-explanatory and offer a nice helping of cast and crew interviews, behind-the-scenes footage, a look at the movies costumes, shooting at the Playboy Mansion, etc.
Ten 'Deleted Scenes' that add up to about 12 minutes are included and aren't that bad. It actually fills out the story a little more before she stumbles upon the college campus. We finally have a music video for Katherine McPhee's 'I Know What Boys Like'. And the now standard 'BDLive' link which will take you to a page with downloadable trailers and info.
Anna Faris is funny in the film no doubt about it, but it's just disappointing that everything surrounding her was so blah. The film is PG-13 and was essentially made for teen girls and on that level, I'm sure it will be entertaining enough (the Playboy element is quite benign really...). The Blu-ray specs are quite polished so if you're looking for some cinematic junk food, you could do worse.