|The House Bunny|
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Fred Wolf|
|Produced by||Adam Sandler
Anna Faris (executive)
Karen McCullah Lutz(executive)
Kirsten Smith (executive)
|Written by||Karen McCullah Lutz
|Music by||Waddy Wachtel|
|Editing by||Debra Chiate|
Happy Madison Productions
Alta Loma Entertainment
|Distributed by||Columbia Pictures|
|Release date(s)||August 22, 2008|
|Running time||97 minutes|
The House Bunny is a 2008 romantic comedy film directed by Fred Wolf, written by Kirsten Smith and Karen McCullah Lutz, and starring Anna Faris as a former Playboy bunny who signs up to be the "house mother" of an unpopular university sorority after being conned by a rival into believing she is now too old by Playboy standards.
||This article's plot summary may be too long or excessively detailed. (August 2011)|
Shelley Darlington (Anna Faris) is an aspiring Playboy Playmate living the life of luxury in the Playboy Mansion. The day after her 27th birthday, she awakes to find a note, seemingly from Hugh Hefner, asking her to pack up and leave. Depressed, Shelley leaves in the old car she had arrived in when she first moved into the mansion. After getting in trouble with a police officer, and spending the night in jail, she happens to stumble upon a group of girls who remind her of herself: beautiful and fun. She follows them and sees that they live in luxury too. She tells them of her situation and asks to join them, not knowing that they are members of the Phi Iota Mu sorority; she is rejected by the snobbish Phis because she is not a student, but then sees a group of older ladies called "house mothers" who live and watch over the sorority sisters, but after asking them to join, she is snobbishly rejected by the head house mother. One house mother courteously advises her to inquire with the Zeta Alpha Zeta sorority.
She makes her way down to the Zeta house, which appears to be far less 'luxurious' than the first sorority she visited. The members of the Zeta house are dowdy, socially awkward, and caught off guard by Shelley's bubbly nature, prompting them to initially reject her. Once they see Shelley's ability to attract boys, the Zetas change their mind and take in Shelley as their new "house mother." When getting to know them, the Zetas explain their dilemma of how their sorority is in danger of being shut down, as they have never managed to get 30 pledges to their house. They decide that Shelley can help them gain popularity, in order to gain their 30 pledges. Shelley then decides to start a car-wash, in order to raise money for the girls. As Natalie (Emma Stone) and Shelley are washing cars, a group of guys come to talk to them, one of them being Colby (Tyson Ritter), the boy on whom Natalie has a huge crush. But as they are talking, Natalie is failing to impress the guys, and embarrasses herself. During her time spent with "The Zetas", Shelley meets an intellectual, altruistic guy named Oliver (Colin Hanks), who works at a retirement home, who Shelley seems to like. Later on, Shelley gives the girls a makeover and lessons on how to attract guys and be popular. After their makeover, the girls then decide, to maximize their popularity, they should throw a party. They have an Aztec theme, and they decide to 'sacrifice' Natalie, as she is a virgin. During the party, she converses with Colby.
Shelley goes out on a date with Oliver, and while her flirty tactics work with most guys, they fail with him, for he is a guy who actually wants to get to know Shelley rather than just sleep with her. To impress Oliver on their upcoming second date, Shelley starts attending classes and reading books. Despite remembering a lot of facts during the date, Oliver finds out she was a Playboy bunny. While Shelley tries to deny this, she knocks over a table and gets chewing gum stuck in her hair. Meanwhile, the Zeta girls are viewing the girls who are hoping to pledge to Zeta and are making their pledge acceptances, however, due to their new popularity, the girls have become conceited and cruel, and harshly judge the girls on their appearance rather than who they are. As Shelley is coming back from her unsuccessful date, she receives a call from Hugh Hefner who has found out about the set-up of a jealous Playboy Playmate and why Shelley left and asks her to come back to the mansion to be 'Miss November', a long standing dream of Shelley's. Shelley is thrilled, but she realises how much she cares for the Zetas and decides to stay with them. Inside, the Zetas have realised how much they have changed, and when Shelley returns, they unfairly blame her for changing them (ignoring the fact that she saved Zeta's future). Shelley becomes upset and leaves, before calling Mr. Hefner back to tell him she has reconsidered.
The Zetas feel guilty about losing Shelley, and decide to give themselves a second makeover, this time being 'Half-Shelley and Half-Themselves'. They also decide to draw the pledges out at random, instead of judging them. Natalie and Colby finally start a relationship. At Shelley's photoshoot, Shelley is still upset about what happened with the Zetas, and changes her mind about her dream of being a centerfold. The Zetas then arrive at the photoshoot and ask for her back as a house mother, to which she agrees.
As Lily (Kiely Williams) is mailing out the invitations, she is distracted by an attractive boy, who is flirting with her. As she is not looking, Ashley (Sarah Wright) throws all her pledge invitations in the trash, and delivers out her own pledges. When asking the guy working at the desk what happened to them, he explains that he got them and they have been delivered out, unaware that they had been swapped. The Zetas are now in huge danger of losing their house due to the Phis sabotaging their recruitment list; they need 30 pledges before the adjournment of the panhellenic council meeting on campus. Shelley and the Zetas crash the meeting. Shelley gives a heartfelt speech about what her experience with the Zetas has taught her about love and acceptance, and a gradual total of 30 students in the audience agree to pledge the Zeta House, the 30th being Ashley's friend, who is sick of Ashley's controlling nature as well as being a Phi and wants to join the Zetas. With the future of the Zetas secured, Natalie reveals that she contacted Oliver on Shelley's behalf. Oliver and Shelley reconcile, and Shelley explains that she likes Oliver a lot and was trying too hard to impress him. They decide to start over with their relationship and Oliver is looking forward to getting to know the "real" Shelley.
The film ends with Zetas and their new pledges celebrating. Shelley has remained in close contact with Mr. Hefner and her friends at the Playboy mansion.
- Anna Faris as Shelley
- Colin Hanks as Oliver
- Emma Stone as Natalie
- Kat Dennings as Mona
- Katharine McPhee as Harmony
- Rumer Willis as Joanne
- Kiely Williams as Lily
- Tyson Ritter as Colby
- Hugh Hefner as Himself
- Dana Goodman as Carrie Mae
- Kimberly Makkouk as Tanya
- Beverly D'Angelo as Mrs. Hagstrom
- Sarah Wright as Ashley
- Rachel Specter as Courtney
- Owen Benjamin as Marvin
- Monet Mazur as Cassandra
- Christopher McDonald as Dean Simmons
- Matt Barr as Tyler
Critical reception 
Anna Faris' performance was praised by most critics; however, the film itself received mixed reviews. Rotten Tomatoes gives the film a 42% "Rotten" rating based on 123 reviews, with the consensus stating "Anna Faris is game, but she can't salvage this middling, formulaic comedy.
(Cult)ure film critic, Kevin Johns, suggested, "The House Bunny would have, perhaps, garnered more laughs if it had actually addressed just how difficult it is for young women to transform their identity, or if it dared to explore the challenge of finding that elusive balance between outer appearance and inner beauty... Instead, the film... tells a fairytale narrative in which any difficulties amalgamating looks with intellect can be overcome by a quick montage or, even worse, a 'Where My Zetas At?' hip-hop dance number." Variety's John Anderson stated that this movie was a "Blissfully broad comedy that should catapult Anna Faris into a singular kind of stardom." Critic Erik Davis of Cinematical said, "Watching Faris prance about playing Playboy's dumbest blonde is worth the price of admission in itself, so go in with your brain on neutral and the movie for all it is: A simple, seductive, slice of late-summer sunshine."
Box office 
The House Bunny was released in the US on August 22, 2008. It debuted at #1 on its first day of release making $5.91 million, but ultimately landed in second place for its opening weekend, making $14.53 million, behind Ben Stiller's action-comedy film Tropic Thunder, which made $16.2 million. As of March 22, 2009, the film had grossed $70 million worldwide ($48 million at the North American domestic box office and $22 million internationally). The film debuted in the UK chart at #1 grossing almost $1 million in its first weekend.
Though a soundtrack was not released, a single was released to iTunes on July 16, 2008. The single was a cover of The Waitresses song, "I Know What Boys Like" as performed by Katharine McPhee (featuring Kat Dennings, Emma Stone, and Rumer Willis). The film also featured songs by artists including:
- Bow Wow Wow - "I Want Candy"
- The All-American Rejects - "I Wanna"
- Altered Images - "Happy Birthday"
- Madonna - "Like a Virgin"
- Rihanna - "Take a Bow"
- The Pussycat Dolls - "When I Grow Up"
- Katharine McPhee (feat. Kat Dennings, Emma Stone, and Rumer Willis) - "I Know What Boys Like"
- Ashlee Simpson - "Boys"
- Metro Station - "Shake It"
- The Cab - "I'll Run"
- Elizaveta - "Like Water"
- Yael Naim - "New Soul"
- The Kills - "Sour Cherry"
- Boys Like Girls - "The Great Escape"
- The Ting Tings - "Great DJ" and "Shut Up and Let Me Go"
- Ingrid Michaelson - "Be OK"
- Avril Lavigne - "Girlfriend"
- Mercedes - Better Than a Psychic
- P!nk - "U + Ur Hand" (Trailers)
- Jennifer Lopez - "Do It Well" (Trailers)
- "The House Bunny (2008)". Box Office Mojo. IMDB. Retrieved 2010-11-27.
- "The House Bunny". Rotten Tomatoes. Flixster. Retrieved 2012-11-22.
- Anderson, John (2008-08-20). The House Bunny - Movie Reviews. Variety. Retrieved 2010-11-27.
- Davis, Erik (2008-08-22). "Review: The House Bunny". Cinematical. Retrieved 2010-11-27.
- John M. Guilfoil (2008-08-24). The Hollywood Charts, Aug. 24. BlastMagazine.com. Retrieved 2010-11-27.
- ReelSoundtrack - Music Soundtrack - The House Bunny (2008). Retrieved 2010-11-27.
- Official website
- The House Bunny at the Internet Movie Database
- The House Bunny at AllRovi
- The House Bunny at Box Office Mojo
- The House Bunny at Rotten Tomatoes