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THE HOUSE BUNNY (a J!-ENT Blu-ray Disc Review)

December 10, 2008 by  



“”THE HOUSE BUNNY’,  think ‘Legally Blonde’ meets ‘Revenge of the Nerds’.   A hilarious comedic performance pulled off by Anna Faris.  Absolutely fun and entertaining!”

(C) Images courtesy of Sony Pictures Home Entertainment

TITLE:  THE HOUSE BUNNY

COMPANY: Columbia Pictures

BLU-RAY DISC INFORMATION: 1080p High Definition (2:40:1), English, French, Portugese Dolby True HD 5.1, Spanish, Thai 5.1, Chinese (Mandarin Simplified), Chinese (Mandarin Traditional), English (US), French (Parisian), Indonesian / Bahasa, Korean, Portuguese (Brazil), Spanish (Latin Am), Thai subtitles

RATED: PG-13

DURATION: 97 minutes

Directed by Fred Wolf

SCREENPLAY by Karen McCullah LutzKirsten Smith

EXECUTIVE PRODUCERS: Anna Faris, Kirsten Smith, Karen McCullah Lutz

PRODUCED by Adam Sandler, Jack Giarraputo, Allen Covert, Heather Parry

STARRING:

Anna Faris
Colin Hanks
Emma Stone
Kat Dennings
Christopher McDonald
Beverly D’Angelo

Shelley is living a carefree life until a rival gets her tossed out of the Playboy Mansion. With nowhere to go, fate delivers her to the sorority girls from Zeta Alpha Zeta. Unless they can sign a new pledge class, the seven socially clueless women will lose their house to the scheming girls of Phi Iota Mu. In order to accomplish their goal, they need Shelley to teach them the ways of makeup and men; at the same time, Shelley needs some of what the Zetas have – a sense of individuality. The combination leads all the girls to learn how to stop pretending and start being themselves.

Anna Faris is one of the popular comedic actresses with her roles in “Scary Movie” films but also showed us how versatile of an actress that she is through roles in films such as “Lost in Translation” and “Brokeback Mountain”.

But this time, Faris has dual roles as executive producer and actress for “THE HOUSE BUNNY”, a comedy film written by the creators of “Legally Blonde” and produced by Happy Madison Productions.  And with that being said, if you are a fan of Happy Madison style of films such as “50 First Dates”, “Deuce Bigalow” or more recently with films such as “Bedtime Stories”, you know that you’re getting a fun film that will generate a lot of laughs.  But also films that are not meant to be taken seriously.  Just sit back and enjoy.

“THE HOUSE BUNNY” features Shelley (Anna Faris), a young orphan who becomes a beautiful model for Playboy and lives in the Playboy mansion.  Her dream is to become a Playmate and Miss November.  But after celebrating an extravagant 27th birthday at the Playboy mansion highlighted by cameos by professional athletes such as Shaquille O’Neal and Matt Leinart, Shelley receives a letter that she must vacate the Playboy mansion.

Shelley becomes homeless and has some rough luck until she overhears a sorority talking about fashion and she follows them to their home.  Not knowing what a sorority house is, she meets the house mothers who pretty much tells her to get lost while one feels sorry for her and tells her to visit another sorority, Zeta Alpha Zeta.

The Zeta Alpha Zeta sorority are a few women who are somewhat nerds, outcasts and are in danger of losing their house because they don’t have 30 members.  Fortunately for them, Shelley takes up a job to become their house mother and using her sexy body brings the attention to the sorority and hopefully help them get the 30 members that they need but also helping the women discover their inner beauty and to hopefully give them the courage to get a makeover and also meet guys.

Anna Faris really makes this film work.  Faris really worked out for the role to make Shelley’s part work.  Having to wear short shorts and showing off her toned abs and body, it’s definitely not a part that I would have imagined her playing but she executes her role convincingly.

Shelley is much more ditsier than Witherspoone’s “Legally Blonde” character and because she is quite naive and only exposed to what goes on at the Playboy Mansion, she has an interesting way of viewing life and again, Faris does a great bringing life into her character.

Joining Farris are the Zeta Alpha Zeta sorority girls:

Natalie (played by “Superbad” actress Emma Stone), the leader of Zeta Alpha Zeta who is pretty much the brainiac.

Mona (played by the “40-Year Old Virgin” and “Nick and Norah’s Infinity Playlist” Kat Denning), the punk girl who is anti-popular and has piercings all over her face.

Harmony (played by “American Idol” finalist Katharine McPhee), the pregnant sorority member.

Joanne (played by “From Within” actress Rumer Willis), the sorority member who wears a body brace.

Lilly (played by Cheetah Girls member Kiely Williams), the sorority member who is afraid to talk to people.

Carrie Mae (played by Deuce Bigalow: The European Gigalow” actress Dana Goodman), as a scary sorority member who walks with a hunchback.

Tanya (played by Kimberly Makkouk), as the very small member of the group.

And also starring Colin Hanks as Oliver, a normal guy who works at a convalescent home. Shelley happens to be attracted to him but her Playboy way of attracting men by flaunting her body, doesn’t seem to work on him, thus with the help of the Zeta Alpha Zeta girls, they teach her how to be smart.

The film also features a pretty strong soundtrack as a lot of the songs are well-known such as “When I Grow Up” by the Pussycat Dolls and “Shut Up and Let Me Go” by the Ting Tings.

VIDEO:

The video is featured in 1080p high definition and aspect ratio is 2:40:1.  Picture quality was quite vibrant during the outdoor scenes and during dark scenes, I really don’t recall seeing much noise during the blacks.

AUDIO:

The film is featured in TrueHD 5.1.  Although the film is primarily a dialogue film, where the film really gets pumped up audio-wise is during the moments that feature a lot of music.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

The Blu-ray edition of “The House Bunny” definitely has a good number of featurettes included.

  • House Bunny Style: Make-up/hair/wardrobe documentary on making over the Zeta girls into “Bunnies”
  • The Girls of Zeta: A look into the actresses who make up the sorority girls of Zeta and how they bonded on-set
  • Calendar Girls: A fun look into the photo shoot for the calendar
  • Anna Faris: House Mom: A look at Anna Faris and her character of “Shelley”, her infectious smile, fun personality and interactions with others
  • Colin Hanks: Mr. Nice Guy
  • From Song to Set: Katherine McPhee: A look at the on-set experiences of first-time actress Katharine McPhee
  • From Tour Bus to Trailer: Tyson Ritter: A look at the on-set experiences of first-time actor Tyson Ritter
  • Look Who Dropped By: Checkout the stars who showed up on-set!
  • The Girls Upstairs: Behind the scenes with the real “Girls Next Door”
  • Zetas Transformed
  • Getting Ready for a Party
  • House Bunny Memories
  • I Know What Boys Like Music Video by Katharine McPhee
  • INTRODUCTION TO “I KNOW WHAT BOYS LIKE”
  • Deleted Scenes

For me, the featurette with Anna Faris was interesting to watch.  Especially to get her take on having to do the dual roles as an executive producer and being the lead actress.  Also, learning how she had to really workout for the role and her thoughts of wearing the skimpy outfits.  Really good insight into the actual film.

Also, it was great to see the camaraderie of the ladies in the film and how much fun they had shooting the film.  There literally are a good number of featurettes that last around five minutes or more on this Blu-ray.

In “Looked Who Dropped By”, you get to see the number of talent who had cameos in the film from Shaq, Matt Leinart, former ESPN analyst Sean Sallisbury, sportscaster Dan Patrick and many more.  “The Girls Upstairs” features Hugh Heffner and the three Playmates from “Girls Next Door” on set.

As for the deleted scenes, no commentary but there were quite a number of deleted scenes which I agree with the director for cutting out those scenes.

I wish there was a commentary segment featuring Faris but unfortunately there wasn’t one.  But overall, you do get a good number of special features on the Blu-ray disc and it is BD-Live enabled.

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Typically, when I watch a “Happy Madison” produced film, I expect to watch a comedy and just sit back and see how crazy and at times, how moronic some films can be.  But with “THE HOUSE BUNNY”, I have to admit that I was amazed to see Anna Faris in this role and how she brought this character to life.

Personally, I don’t think I can picture any actress making this role happen and so I was very pleased with her performance.  As for the overall film, I would call it “Legally Blonde” meets “The Revenge of the Nerds” and to see how the women literally transform themselves to the women no one wants to be around, to the women than the frat boys want to party with.

But with that being said, that scenario can be seen quite negatively to people who do not believe a woman should have to go through a makeover, wear slinky outfits to make things happen for them in college.

For me, many Happy Gilmore produced films are never meant to be taken seriously and for those who approach these comedy films with a lot of seriousness, are probably going to get disappointed.  You need to really sit back and just enjoy how far the characters can make you laugh or make you feel embarrassed.  It’s all fun!

Again, Anna Faris does a great job on this film and really demonstrating her versatility as an actress.  Without her, I really don’t think this film could have worked.  She brought life into the character of Shelley and watching the featurette, she definitely made it fun for the other actresses and they fed off that enthusiasm,  The chemistry with Faris and the other actresses worked quite well.

Overall, “THE HOUSE BUNNY” is a fun and enjoyable comedy that is sure to make you laugh and also looks great on Blu-ray.

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