The House Bunny was better than expected, though no less cliche or tired. The film actually begins with a self-reflective attitude, gearing up for potentially interesting satire, but never following through. The film instead falls victim to what it could potentially be critisizing, but rounding it off with the message “just be yourself”, which is a nice gesture, though it’s as vapid as most of the film’s characters. The film is not a complete bust, though, and it does reveal some double standards relating to the appearance and perception of women. The fact that Shelley is an orphan, and she considers the playboy mansion her only home is a strange, disturbing and almost delicious concept. It suggests how the sex industry preys on weak and psychologically insecure women (this is not always the case clearly, I’m not going to be accused of making gross generalizations, but it certainly happens a lot). Shelley’s world-view is very closed, and reduces her to little more than a commodity. She sees herself as a tool to make men happy, and all her “tricks” she passes on to the other girls, strips them of their originality and personality, reducing them to sex on a stick. The film does try to reveal this is naivity on her part, and not all men are interested in dumb, uninteresting women. The film does this in the most obvious way, first with the character of Oliver, and second with taking stereotypes, and then in an almost deux ex machina move, giving them added qualities that were not there before, adding a new layer to their personalities to make the film’s message more palatable.
What I did appreciate was the overall sweetness of Shelley’s character. I hate to say it, but it’s damn easy to judge her because of her profession, outward appearance and naive world view, but she has good intentions and it’s clear is just a good person at heart. A lot of this is due to Anna Faris, who is by far the greatest asset the film has. She has great comic abilities, and understands her character’s state of mind. Though, so artificial, she brings life and personality to her character that cements this film which would be otherwise unbearable. While, I don’t think this film will be remembered in even a month’s time, I hope this gives her more opportunities to lead films, and hopefully some matching the quality of her male counterparts.