Faris gives 'House Bunny' plenty of sexy bounce

Review B+

August 22, 2008|By Michael Ordona | Michael Ordona,LOS ANGELES TIMES

"Being a centerfold is the highest and most prestigious honor there is," uber-blond Shelley earnestly declares. "It says, 'I'm naked in the middle of a magazine. Unfold me!' "

Such is the glazed-eyed charm of House Bunny, which is factory made, nothing new and really funny.

The familiar plot finds a misfit sorority about to lose its house unless it can suddenly become popular. Enter Shelley, a sweetly vacant exile from the paradise called the Playboy Mansion, who is just spunky and sexy enough to solve everyone's problems.

The movie benefits from a crisp script by Karen McCullah Lutz and Kirsten Smith (Legally Blonde, the underrated She's the Man) and a strong supporting cast. But the big rabbit in the room is star Anna Faris, who, as the epically ditzy but good-hearted Shelley, delivers a flat-out hilarious farce performance.

With almost insanely open-hearted enthusiasm, Faris gets much mileage out of lines such as, "We must highlight your eyes - the eyes are the nipples of the face." If it takes intelligence to play dumb with charm and conviction, Faris is a MacArthur Fellow.

Sure, House Bunny precisely adheres to the rally-the-losers schematic of too many other movies. Sure, its tacked-on female-empowerment message is as half-hearted as a cheesy Valentine.

But it's also among the sunnier, funnier films of the year, thanks largely to the zest with which Faris embodies a mental vacuum.

Michael Ordona writes for the Los Angeles Times.

ONLINE

Watch a preview, see more photos from The House Bunny at baltimoresun.com/bunny

The House Bunny

(Columbia Pictures) Starring Anna Faris, Colin Hanks, Emma Stone. Directed by Fred Wolf. Rated PG-13 for sex-related humor, partial nudity and language. Time 108 minutes.

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