Anyone who saw her light up the edges of Lost in Translation and Just Friends, or steal the entire show in Gregg Araki’s Smiley Face, knows by now that Anna Faris has been shaping up as the most inventive screen comedienne of her generation. She proves it once again in this lace-panties-thin farce about a happy-go-lucky Playboy Bunny who finds herself unceremoniously booted from Hef’s mansion after hitting retirement age (27, which we’re told is really 59 in “bunny years”). Living out of her car, Shelley (Faris) eventually takes up residence as the housemother to a bunch of sorority-girl also-rans who are a few plastic surgeries shy of supermodel status, and . . . well, you can pretty much guess what happens from there. Directed with little distinction by SNL vet Fred Wolf, The House Bunny operates on a skin-deep level and offers up the predictable inner-beauty message: As Faris turns her fugly charges into superficially gorgeous, judgmental twits, she finds her own slutty charms at a loss to woo the smart, dorky-cute man of her dreams (Colin Hanks). The screenwriting team of Karen McCullah Lutz and Kirsten Smith are rather shamelessly aping their own Legally Blonde here, but they’ve given Faris some great ditzy one-liners and a few slapstick pratfalls worthy of Olympic gold. The movie basically exists on one plane, while Faris is on another—that exclusive aerie occupied by Judy Holliday, Carole Lombard, Lucille Ball and a few other blissfully original comedy goddesses.
Advertising disclosure: We may receive compensation for some of the links in our stories. Thank you for supporting the Village Voice and our advertisers.