The House Bunny (2008)

<strong class="MovieTitle">The House Bunny</strong> (2008)

(On DVD, October 2016) As a film, The House Bunny may work best as a showcase for Anna Faris’s comedic charm than anything else. Taking on campus sorority comedy via a disgraced playboy bunny forced to find a way for herself, this is a film that doesn’t aim too high and seems content with executing its own goals modestly. As it confronts beauty with authenticity, the script laboriously moves through synthesis, antithesis and synthesis is a measured fashion, most plot points perceptible long in advance. Despite the all-inclusive ending, there’s still something uncomfortable in the film’s first half, as playboy-centric beauty seems to be promoted as the ultimate goal. Fortunately, Faris is likable enough as the ditzy heroine to keep the film enjoyable no matter how far away it gets into its short-lived promotion of superficiality. The characters making up the underdog sorority rescued by the protagonist are fun (with particular props to Emma Stone in a pre-stardom role and Dana Goodman for boldly throwing herself in a hilarious character). The moral lessons of the film are deeply muddled (one suspects that giving a supporting role to Hugh Hefner himself is enough to blur whatever good intentions The House Bunny may have about an empowerment message) but the various laughs that the film gets, often through sheer mugging, are good enough to forgive many other transgressions. The House Bunny may be confused, but it is good-natured and, like its animal namesake, is cuddly enough to like despite its flaws.

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