After being evicted from the Playboy Mansion for being too old at 27, Shelley Darlingson (Anna Faris) now homeless, has little choice but to move into the Zeta Sorority House, whose seven misfit members risk losing their house unless they receive thirty pledges from potential new Zetas. So in exchange for living there, Shelley dedicates herself to the task of making the Zetas popular to help them attract pledges. An orphan whose only real home has been the Playboy Mansion, Shelley is incredibly naive with no real world experience, and is therefore the ultimate archetypal dumb blonde character, trading one comfortable environment for another.
From the same writers of Legally Blonde, The House Bunny attempts to imitate the success of the former. Unfortunately the film fails on all accounts. Legally Blonde was successful largely due to Reese Witherspoon’s likeability, subverting her dumb blonde image in the film. The House Bunny makes no attempt to dispel this stereotype: Shelley tells the sorority girls that popularity is increased through higher levels of attractiveness.
The film is also hugely clichéd: there isn’t anything that hasn’t been seen before here. Complete with the typical cheesy montages in which the characters toil as inspiring music is played, the film is entirely formulaic. The film is completely predictable from the start, with no surprises whatsoever.
Anna Faris is not particularly likeable; during her appearance on Friends (playing Erica in the final series) she was just about bearable. However, now given a feature length film, the increase in screen time just serves to highlight her lack of talent as an actress. Shelley is irritating, stupid beyond belief and not remotely funny. The biggest laugh in the film comes unintentionally from Hugh Hefner in a cameo role, who actually manages the feat of failing at playing himself.
Emma Stone (Jules in Superbad) does well enough with a terrible script; whereas Rumer Willis, daughter of Bruce, is given little opportunity to show off any acting abilities she may possess.
Overall ‘The House Bunny’ is a poor film that brings nothing new to a tired genre.