The House Bunny review

From Playboy mansion to college campus...

A candy-crusted wish-fulfillment fantasy for underachieving bottle-blondes, celebrity skin enthusiasts and dudes who wish their grungy girlfriends would just wear some make-up for once, The House Bunny tells the frothy tale of Shelley (Anna Faris), a relentlessly sunny Playboy model sabotaged by a rival top-doffer on her 27th birthday.

Unfairly ousted from Hugh Hefner’s mansion, she blunders her way into a new and highly unlikely career as a house mother at Zeta Alpha Zeta, a disastrous sorority house full of freaks and geeks, including Superbad’s whiskey-voiced Emma Stone, American Idol runner-up Katharine McPhee (with a ready-to-pop prop-preggers belly) and Rumer ‘spawn-of-Bruce-and-Demi’ Willis as a back brace-wearing wallflower.

Unless Zeta’s wildly unpopular gang of frumpy nerd-girls can come up with a plan to recruit 15 new members by film’s end, its creaky doors will shut forever. And so, in time-weathered chick-flick fashion, our Wonderbra-wielding heroine proceeds to give the girls, their house, and even their snotty arch-rivals the makeovers they all deserve.

That is, when she’s not falling head over heels (quite literally, in several riotous, Lucille Ball-ish scenes) for chronic do-gooder Oliver (Colin Hanks) or quietly pondering life’s rich pageantry.

Directed by the stand-up comic-turned-moviemaker Fred Wolf, last seen bluffing his way through semi-improvised junkpile Strange Wilderness, and written by the pink-powered screenwriting team that brought you Legally Blonde, 10 Things I Hate About You and Ella Enchanted, The House Bunny’s central premise is as rickety and well-worn as Hef himself.

But Faris’ considerable comic talents and endless frilly outfits fluff this workaday cautionary tale into an easy-watch whirl of sweetness and light colours. Speckled with sugary sentiment and gormless gross-out gags, it’s not the star vehicle our leading lady truly deserves, but she gamely rides it for all it’s worth. Ken McIntyre Faris’ comic talents make this an easy-watch whirl of sweetness.

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