Movies from Happy Madison Productions have often been of the hit-and-miss variety, but they certainly tend to catch moviegoers’ attention all the same.
One can roll their eyes at titles such as The Animal or the Deuce Bigalow movies; it’s true that plenty of these movies have wildly different plots, most of which are set to a mildly-annoying, cliché plot structure.
The House Bunny isn’t vastly different in this regard, but with the amusing, talented and surprisingly tanned Anna Faris taking the lead role in this first female-led production from Happy Madison, this film still serves up a few entertaining moments and performances.
Anna Faris takes the role of the titular character, Shelley Darlington, and starts things right off with a very brief, very disjointed fairy tale look at Shelley’s early life and ugly duckling rise to the Playboy Bunny Mansion.
Though never having achieved the prestigious status of centerfold, Shelley’s the life of the party at the mansion by the end of her 27th birthday party, which is roughly where things start getting conflicted.
Somehow she ends up getting tossed out of the Playboy Mansion (right into the back of an archaic station wagon).
Things get understandably weirder from there, and somehow she ends up stumbling into the job of being a sorority mother for an especially peculiar bunch of misfits, colloquially referred to in the movie as the “Zetas.”
In a nutshell, The House Bunny combines elements from the Happy Madison movies and Legally Blonde. There are horribly embarrassing situations, unusual characters, and gratuitous butt shots (which in Faris’s case, isn’t half bad) with plenty of ditzy, airheaded lines and attitude.
Even with the predictable course of the plot, Faris carries most of the film admirably, being as bubbly and naïve as you’d expect but self-conscious enough of her situation to avoid being just a stereotype.
The supporting cast of the Zeta girls, consisting of characters such as the archetypical yet-to-bloom cute nerd, a metal-studded Goth type, and a girl wearing a spinal brace, to name a few, have their own share of funny moments as well, and it’s actually quite surprising to see how they progress throughout the movie.
In spite of the title suggesting the film leans toward the lowest common denomination and a noticeable number of clichés, the writing (also from the writers of Legally Blonde) and acting saves this film from the bargain bin.
I went into the film being quite cynical of the whole blonde and/or sisterhood empowerment-type films, but given that the film doesn’t ever take itself too seriously, it’s certainly worth taking some time to watch.