Ah the life of a Playboy bunny. Can you imagine? You live completely bills-free in a sprawling mansion, you have a bottomless wardrobe, you have 24-hour food and beverage service, there are so many parties, and an endless parade of beautiful people. Sounds like you’d be living in a Barbie dream house come to life. But what happens when these girls leave the Playboy mansion? When all they’ve known is the Playboy lifestyle?
Shelly Darlingson (Anna Faris) was an orphan before she was adopted by Hugh Hefner and became a Playboy bunny. She’s grown accustomed to the lifestyle there. On her 27th birthday, Shelley is hoping to receive the gift from Hef that she’s wanted the most: to become a centerfold. Instead, the morning after her elaborate 27th birthday party, she opens a letter that says she’s kicked out of the Playboy mansion. Bartender Marvin tells her that it’s because she’s gotten too old. So Shelly drives away in a beat up station wagon, with nothing to her name.
She stumbles across a row of sorority houses and finds that the Zeta Alpha Zeta house needs a new house mother. The girls are in danger of losing their charter due to the fact that they can’t seem to get anyone to want to pledge. Shelly makes it her mission to save the Zeta house and the Zeta girls by giving them all makeovers.
The House Bunny would probably be a completely forgettable movie if Anna Faris weren’t the star. She’s created a fun and relatable character in Shelly. Even though her body is ridiculously and unattainably hot, she still finds a way to create enough real-life quirks in the character to give everyone something to relate to. For example, when Shelly meets kind, good-hearted Oliver (Colin Hanks), there is an immediate attraction between the two. But, when they go out on a few dates together, Shelly has no idea how to win over a guy. She only knows how to be a Playboy bunny. The Zeta girls turn the tables and have to help her in this situation.
Aside from that, Anna Faris is simply one of the more talented comediennes working today. She never holds back and isn’t afraid to try anything in the way of physical comedy, something that isn’t ever really done quite right these days. Her gift with words is also very funny as well. Faris always plays these dumbed-down characters, but it’s very obvious that she’s a very smart girl. She could never make these characters work if she weren’t a brilliant comedic mind. One of my favorite jokes of the movie was a running gag: Shelley can’t say the word “philanthropy.” It’s amazing how many times they fit that word into the script. I almost missed the joke several times, it’s so subtle.
The rest of the supporting cast does a fine job here as well. Emma Stone (Superbad, The Rocker) as Natalie was my favorite girl in the house. She was the shy, bookish type and I just loved her. Rumer Willis (Bruce and Demi’s girl) played Joanne, a sporty girl who’s had her back in a brace for years. She doesn’t need it anymore, but she still wears it. Kat Dennings (The 40 Year Old Virgin, Nick and Nora’s Infinite Playlist) is always fun. She plays Mona, the rebellious punk who doubts everything that Shelly is trying to do for the sorority. American Idol Katherine McPhee plays the hippie pregnant girl of the sorority, Harmony. This is her first movie and she looked like she was having a blast. In fact, the entire cast looks like they’re having the time of their lives during this movie. It’s one of the many reasons why the movie is so charming.
But lets face it, nobodys going to be seeing this movie for the acting quality. Theyre going to see it to have a few laughs and see some girls in really skimpy clothing. You wont be disappointed in either.
The House Bunny is a Happy Madison production, brought to us by Adam Sandler and his sidekick Allen Covert. I’ve been really comforted by knowing that Anna Faris is now a part of their team. With her on their side, I’m sure we can look forward to many more clever characters like Shelly in the future.
The movie looks as gorgeous as it’s stars, brightly colored and crystal clear. Presented in a 2.40:1 aspect ratio with the option of French subs and dubs. No Spanish though.
Deleted Scenes – A total of 11 deleted scenes, each of them fairly short. The funniest one was a scene where Shelly gets a “yob” at an IHOP prior to finding the Zetas. All 11 deleted scenes are 11:52 in length total.
Anna Faris: House Mom – Anna Faris talks about coming up with the character and pitching it, and how it’s all so cool that her vision is coming true. 5:52
The Girls of Zeta – This feature shows clips and funny things that the girls did while on set. 5:23
The Girls Upstairs – This featurette showcases the Playboy girls and just shows even more that they are definitely liked because of their looks, not their brains. 3:12
Colin Hanks: Mr. Nice Guy – Funny how this is called Mr. Nice Guy because I thought he came across as a bit of a douche in this feature. Oliver is supposed to be the nice guy, not Colin Hanks. In this featurette, we get to see Mr. Hanks hogging the camera for no particular reason. 4:49
From Song to Set: Katherine McPhee – This feature focuses on Ms. McPhee behind the scenes talking about doing her first movie. 4:25
From Tour Bus to Trailer: Tyson Ritter – I knew this guy looked familiar. All-American Rejects frontman Tyson Ritter was the love interest for Natalie in the movie. This was my favorite feature. He just looked happy to be there. My favorite part of this is where Tyson is standing off camera during a scene with Beverly D’Angelo and Shooter McGavin (Christopher McDonald) pointing and whispering to the camera, “That’s Shooter McGavin!” Then he gets him to do the famous “shooter”. Really cute stuff. 5:19
Look Who Dropped By – This is becoming a Happy Madison staple and just shows all of the cameos during the movie. They include Shaquille O’Neal, Nick Swordson, Dan Patrick and Allen Covert. 4:29
House Bunny Style – The wardrobe lady had a blast doing this movie. Shelly alone has over 50 different outfits throughout the film. 6:11
Zetas Transformed – Various footage of the girls as they’re getting their “hot girl” makeup and hair put on. 2:37
Getting Ready for a Party – Behind the scenes footage of the girls getting in their make-up and costumes for the Aztec party. 3:20
Calendar Girls – Behind the scenes footage of the girls in their costumes and make-up for the calendar shoot. 3:24 OK, now it’s getting a little old…
House Bunny Memories – The cast goes through their favorite moments on set. 4:20
Introduction to “I Know What Boys Like” – Kat McPhee introduces the music video. 0:24
Music Video “I Know What Boys Like” – Extended version of the video that plays over the credits of the film, the remake of the ’80s song “I Know What Boys Like”. And Kat Dennings raps in it. 2:21
Previews before the main menu screen include: Paul Blart: Mall Cop, Hancock, and Center Stage: Turn It Up
As far as comedies go, this one is one of the better non-Apatow ones this year. Even if Faris helped usher in the dawn of the dreadful “Movie” comedy series (Scary Movie, Disaster Movie, Epic Movie, Date Movie), she’s still one of the best comediennes out there. Although it suffers a bit from Extras Overload, The House Bunny is a good way to spend an evening.
Sony presents The House Bunny. Directed by Fred Wolf. Starring Anna Faris, Kat Dennings, Colin Hanks, Emma Stone, Beverly D’Angelo. Written by Karen McCullah Lutz, Kirsten Smith. Running time: 97 minutes. Rated PG-13. Released on DVD: December 19, 2008. Available at Amazon.
Tags: Anna Faris, Happy Madison, Hugh Hefner, Kat Dennings