I've often called Anna Faris an underrated comedic talent, as the actress never gives any less than 100%, throwing herself wholly and completely into each role - livening up what is not always terrific material. Such is the case with "The House Bunny", a silly, slight comedy that wouldn't entertaining nearly as much as it does if Faris hadn't taken the lead role.
Faris stars as Shelley, an orphan who has found herself in her 20's as a popular Playboy bunny, similar to the girls of E's "Girls Next Door". Early in the movie, Shelley has just turned 27 and the day after her birthday, she gets a note - to get out of the mansion. Seeking out a reason, a friend explains that she's "59 in bunny years."
With nowhere to go, she takes to living in her car until a potential job comes along being a den mother to the Zeta Alpha Zeta sorority, a group of sweet, smart and incredibly socially awkward girls lumped together in a crumbling house. Given that they get no pledges and are generally considered rejects, the school is about to start the process of taking their house away when Shelley arrives.
While the girls are initially skeptical at their new guest, it's no surprise that Shelley starts turning their house around, giving the girls more confidence and allowing them to gain enough recruits to keep their house. However, as the Zeta girls gain popularity, they become stuck-up and much like the girls they always disliked. Soon enough, they realize that it's better to be who they are/were.
Of course, the outcasts suddenly become a threat to the most popular sorority, who sets out to try and sabotage Zeta Alpha Zeta. Meanwhile, Shelley finds herself falling for Oliver (Colin Hanks), an intelligent guy who is more interested in conversation than her posing for him. While Shelley gets called back to the mansion shortly after offending Oliver, the course of their relationship isn't much of a surprise.
The film is paper-thin, predictable (the film is from the writers of "Legally Blonde", and they use the same formula again here) and repetitive (the jokes are one-note, largely revolving around blonde jokes), but as forgettable as the flick is, it wouldn't have even reached the level of mindless entertainment without Faris, whose bubbly personality and physical comedy skills elevate the material. The supporting cast (including Kat Dennings, Emma Stone and others) are fine, but the characters remain one-dimensional. Overall, "House Bunny" gets a few laughs thanks to Faris, but there's not enough here to go beyond a rental recommendation.
VIDEO: "The House Bunny" is presented in 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen. While the movie doesn't have much to offer in terms of visual style, the DVD transfer is technically quite nice. Sharpness and detail are consistently above-average, as while the film never appeared crystal clear, it at least looked consistently crisp and well-defined.
Flaws were limited to a few slight traces of pixelation and a couple of brief instances of edge enhancement. The majority of the film appeared pristine, with no print flaws or other concerns. Colors looked bright and poppy, with no smearing or other faults. While certainly not reference quality, this is a perfectly satisfying DVD presentation.
SOUND: "The House Bunny" is presented in Dolby Digital 5.1. The film's audio rarely gets beyond the bare basics, remaining dialogue-driven throughout the proceedings. Surrounds do offer some minor reinforcement of the score, but that's about it. Audio quality was fine, with clear dialogue and music.
EXTRAS: A series of featurettes: "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" all provide a good (if rather fluffy) look at various aspects of the production. However, it would have been nice if these featurettes had been put together or a "play all" option been offered.
Also included are 10 deleted scenes, music video (w/intro) and trailers for several other titles from the studio.
Final Thoughts: "House Bunny" is saved by Anna Faris, whose energetic performance gets a few good laughs in this otherwise forgettable comedy. The DVD edition offers very good video quality, fine audio quality and an assortment of minor extras. Rent it.
The Film C