Opening 9 Oct 2008
Shelley endured life at an orphanage as a gawky, bespectacled girl in braids, and never found the family of her dreams – until she grew up to be beautiful and found a welcoming family life at the Playboy mansion. Cute, radiant, not-so-smart (but very successfully surgically-enhanced), Shelley (Anna Davis) gets bounced out of her adoptive home the morning after her 27th birthday, with a note from “Hef” (Hugh Hefner playing himself) that she is too old. Her dream of becoming Miss November crushed, she packs her tiny clothes, lives out of her car, gets arrested and subsequently dumped out on the streets near college sorority row.
The Zeta house, home to seven socially misfit “sisters,” is on the verge of losing their charter as they need to bring in at least thirty new pledges. Shelley signs up as Zeta housemother with the large task of using her ex-Bunny skills (shopping, makeovers, hair and nail maintenance, sexual deportment and house party-throwing) to keep her new home intact.
As with all films of this genre, the fun is in the extent of the makeover, the awkwardness of the role reversals, and the fulfillment of the underdogs winning. Since the expected package (standard plot, transformation, moral dilemma, finale scene group drama with the usual who’s-with-me? speech) is all intact, it is a surprise that House Bunny maintains a decent enjoyability factor. Like Animal House, Revenge of the Nerds, Legally Blonde, American Pie and countless college-crowd films before it, House Bunny will whisk you on an amusing yet unrealistic adventure; it’s saving grace is a likeable group of lead actors with the ability to not take themselves too seriously, considering the redundant material. Go and enjoy a harmless ninety minutes of makeovers and relationship mishaps, with lots of waterbras, cleavage and big bunny hair. Charmingly predictable. (Kirstan Böttger)