House Bunny, The (DVD Review)18 Dec, 2008 By: John Latchem
Box Office $48.2 million
$28.96 DVD, $39.95 Blu-ray, $24.94 UMD
Rated ‘PG-13’ for sex-related humor, partial nudity and brief strong language.
Stars Anna Faris, Emma Stone, Kat Dennings, Katharine McPhee, Rumer Willis, Colin Hanks.
Legally Blonde meets Revenge of the Nerds in this by-the-numbers comedy from Adam Sandler’s Happy Madison production unit.
The story plays on the premise of what a Playboy Bunny is supposed to do once she’s considered “washed up.” Faris plays Shelley, a stereotypical dumb blonde who finds herself kicked out of the Playboy Mansion presumably because she’s too old (having just turned 27). Forced to find a real job, she ends up homeless, but stumbles upon sorority row at a local college. Turned away by the popular girls, she is hired by a sorority of outcasts who think she can help them improve their image and meet boys, and ultimately save their house from the schemes of the more fashionable sorority.
Among the girls in need of a makeover are Stone of Superbad, Denning of The 40-Year-Old Virgin, and “American Idol” icon Katharine McPhee, whose character is very pregnant thanks to a prosthetic tummy.
Shelley begins to turn the nerdy girls into vapid echoes of her own shallow existence, while at the same time hoping to adopt a more scholarly reputation to attract the attentions of Oliver (Hanks), a nice kid who works at the community old folks home.
Though the outcomes are predictable, the movie offers some spirited performances and genuine laughs. The DVD will appeal to the red-blooded American male demographic simply because Faris spends most of the film in various stages of undress.
The movie works best when satirizing the Playboy empire. Hugh Hefner and his “Girls Next Door” appear as satirical versions of themselves. (Well, Hef does, at least. The girls act pretty much the same.) The focus on the “Girls Next Door” is probably the standout among the many behind-the-scenes featurettes.
The DVD includes a number of deleted scenes, including a key scene in the McPhee pregnancy arc that didn’t make it into the movie.