In "The House Bunny," Anna Faris is great as a Playboy bunny turned sorority house mother, but the rest of the film needs a lot of help.
Faris plays Shelley, an aspiring centerfold who gets kicked out of the Playboy Mansion and is taken in as a house mother by the nerdy, awkward sisters of Zeta Alpha Zeta. She helps them have their sorority house by giving them makeovers and making them popular, while they show her that there's more to life than being an airheaded nude model.
The script from Karen McCullah Lutz and Kirsten Smith (based on an idea by Faris) has plenty of good one-liners, but the beyond that it is clunky and filled with just about every cliche you can imagine. There are some good performances, particularly from Faris, Emma Stone and Kat Denning. But they can't outweigh the wooden presence of Hugh Hefner (as himself, of course) and Tyson Ritter (the lead singer of All-American Rejects). Nor can it outweigh the fact that no film with a PG-13 rating is able to get to the truly good material to be found in either sorority houses or the Playboy Mansion. And let's not get into the questionable gender politics.
In fact, "The House Bunny" feels less like a contemporary story and more like a throwback to the popular comedies of 30 years ago. (It's no coincidence that the sorority's name is abbreviated ZAZ.) But unfortunately it falls just a bit short of being worthy of their company. Yet it is a little fluffy, mindless fun for a rainy day of movie watching -- if you can get past the premise that a woman's highest goal should be to meet a guy.
"Do you know where the crapper is? I have to do a very mysterious thing in there."
Celebrity offspring alert! Tom Hanks' boy Colin plays Shelley's love interest, Oliver, and Rumer Willis (daughter of Bruce Willis and Demi Moore) plays Joanne, the Zeta girl who won't give up her back brace.
"National Lampoon's Animal House" (1978) and "Clueless" (1995).
Missives From Marx.
Take a Look:
"American Idol" star Katherine McPhee (who also plays Zeta girl Harmony) leads her costars in singing the sadly non-ironic theme song: