The House Bunny (3/10)
by Tony Medley
Run Time 97 minutes.
Shelley Darlingson (Anna
Faris) is an orphan who finally gets a family with which to live. That
turns out to be at Hugh Hefner’s (playing himself) Playboy Mansion as a
Bunny. The day after her 27th birthday party, she awakens to
be given a letter, apparently from Hef, evicting her and giving her only
two hours to vacate the premises. Hef has gone out of town, so she can’t
talk to him.
Apparently condemned to
living out of her car, she finds that a sorority, Zeta Alpha Zeta, needs
a house mother. The Zetas are a group of misfits, seven in all, who live
in a rundown house. The only relatively normal person in the house is
Natalie (Emma Stone). Shelley is an exuberant, uneducated beauty who
thinks she can turn things around for the Zetas.
Written by Karen McCullah
Lutz and Kirsten Smith, who wrote “Legally Blonde,” this is pretty much
another vacuous attack on the Greek system that started with “Animal
House,” and is almost as ignorant and ill-informed about reality. The
seven Zetas are crude caricatures, actually freaks. One wears a metal
brace. Another, Harmony (Katharine McPhee of American Idol) is pregnant.
Another is a profane beast. All seven of these women proclaim to not
have a clue how to approach men, yet here is Harmony, pregnant. How did
that happen? There is no explanation and no hint, ever, of who the
father might be.
Lutz, Smith, and director
Fred Wolf use no sophistication in creating misfits that might be
slightly believable. One is told by Shelley to go over to some boys and
try to strike up a conversation, so she goes over and says, “Where’s the
crapper?” Credible? Funny? Not. Six of the seven, excluding Natalie, are
so absurdly drawn that they are ridiculous rather than funny. Of course,
most of them are attractive and made to look horrible by makeup. By the
end of the film they have all the men in the film drooling over them.
As to Wolf, he is the only
man in the creative team. Everyone else, the writers, cinematographer,
editor, casting director, production designer, set director, and costume
designer are women. One would think that with so many women involved,
some realistic female characters could have been created.
There is a love story
between Shelley and a nice guy she meets, Oliver (Colin Hanks) that
defies credibility. Oliver is a smart, good-looking, nice guy. There
doesn’t seem to be a chance in a million that a guy like this could have
any interest in an airhead like Shelley. They never have even one
reasonable conversation. Yet at the end of the movie, he is in love with
her. Give me a break.
Faris gives an engaging
Marilyn Monroe impersonation, but she’s no Marilyn. Since she is in
almost every scene, she has to carry the film, and falls far short. Her
performance is OK, considering the weak script, but the person who
really stands out is Emma Stone. She’s got a thankless role, the
straight, pretty girl who has no funny lines penned for her, but when
she’s onscreen, the film has a life it lacks when she’s elsewhere.
The silliness reflected in
the drafting of the seven Zetas is carried on in the denouement, in
which Shelley addresses, the head of the Greek system to get 30 women to
pledge Zeta to save the house. It is so far-fetched that it’s hard to
believe anyone could buy into it. But obviously director Fred Wolf did.