Starring: Anna Faris, Emma Stone, Colin Hanks
Director: Fred Wolf
Running Time: 97 mins
The House Bunny is an American film about a Playboy model who, after being kicked out of the Mansion, winds up as a mentor for a sorority full of nerdy girls.
Although briefly entertaining as a simple Hollywood comedy that’s easy on the mind, The House Bunny more often than not proves a frustratingly dull watch. With uninspiring ideas, disappointing humour and subpar performances, it’s never the fun-loving laughter fest it wants to be.
But let’s quickly start off with the few things that do work about this film. Although it ultimately proves more underwhelming than entertaining, there are times when its light-hearted atmosphere are welcome.
It’s not at all taxing on the brain, blending basic Hollywood comedy with equally basic teen/university humour throughout. Couple that with a story that’s not much different from your average high school movie, and The House Bunny does at least prove a simple watch throughout.
But just being easy-going is nowhere near enough. Above all, the film’s biggest shortcoming is its comedy. Even with a dumb story, uninspiring ideas and less-than-stellar performances, a film with genuinely funny jokes is still entertaining.
The House Bunny, on the other hand, never sparks so much as a chuckle, dragging along with little energy and barely any laughs. The performances do little to improve the problem, with Anna Faris’ turn as a well-meaning airhead proving underwhelming, while the film’s supporting players are equally disappointing.
As a result, The House Bunny is far from an entertaining comedy, and that means a lot of focus falls back onto its ideas and story. A simpler, funnier comedy can disguise a dull story with laughs throughout, but with so few good jokes, this film’s narrative and thematic weaknesses are painfully obvious.
Most of all frustrating because of an unintelligent set of ideas, the film tells a dull and conflicting story of self-growth and self-worth as it takes a bunch of nerdy girls and makes them popular, while simultaneously turning a playboy model into somebody more level-headed.
On a superficial level, the film tries to be empowering and inspiring, but it’s so shallow in its delivery, proving equally depressing by its emphasis on looks and popularity as a key to success – even with a tacked-on final act that unconvincingly aims to suggest it thinks otherwise.
In that, The House Bunny at times feels entirely ancient with its ideas about self-growth, empowerment and popularity. With a young Emma Stone starring here two years before her breakout role in the far more modern-minded Easy A, there’s something that seems depressingly backwards about The House Bunny throughout.
And that’s why, despite its easy-going and simple nature, there’s not much to love about The House Bunny. Generally unfunny, featuring disappointing performances and proving consistently dull and uninspiring, it’s a frustrating watch that feels years older in its values than is actually the case. And that’s why I’m giving it a 6.2 overall.