May I just preface this by saying that normally I would never ever go see a movie like The House Bunny in the theaters - a PG-13 girl-friendly comedy - except that I was recently charmed by Anna Faris in Smiley Face and figured eh, how bad could it be? Truth be told, not half-bad and certainly better than I expected.
Anna Faris plays Shelley, a Playboy Bunny (never picked as a centerfold) who gets kicked out of the Mansion ostensibly for being too old on the day after her 27th birthday. She finds her way to a decrepit sorority house at a nearby university where she becomes house mother to the misfit sorority girls within. These social outcasts - including a smart nerd, prickly protofeminist, shut-in, unwed soon-to-be mother and backbrace-wearer - are about to have their charter yanked and house taken away because no one wants to pledge the Zeta house. Shelley, all legs, boobs and big hair, convinces them that she can make them popular with boys and thus with potential pledgees. Along the way she meets and falls for regular guy Oliver (Colin Hanks) in her own little Cinderella story.
The arc of the story is telegraphed from the moment you enter the theater - there are no twists, turns or surprises. But the cast manages to win you enough to overlook the obviousness of the plot. Faris is outstanding. She is nearly unrecognizable from her stoner-chick role in Smiley Face: here she is smokin' hot, wearing little more than underwear and hair extensions for most of the movie. And yet she is a completely sympathetic character to women in the audience because as an actress, she is both unafraid of physical comedy and has hilarious line reads. She goes for it. Kudos also to Emma Stone (Superbad, Drive) for her painfully awkward and spastic nerd portrayal.
48 minutes ago