I didn't expect much from THE HOUSE BUNNY (**). Written by the LEGALLY BLONDE team of Karen McCullah Lutz and Kirsten Smith and nominally directed by Fred Wolf (STRANGE WILDERNESS), I rented this piece of harmless garbage because of one reason: Anna Faris. I am a big fan of this girl. She kills me. There's something about the way she does the "clueless blonde airhead" that just makes me laugh. Hard. The problem with THE HOUSE BUNNY is that its star is better than the material. The simple set-up is that Shelley (Faris), a Playboy bunny but not yet a centerfold, gets kicked out of Hef's mansion because she's too old (27...ha-ha). With nowhere to go, she stumbles upon a University campus and finagles her way into a dumpy sorority with the idea of becoming "house mother" to the rag-tag group of girls. The Zeta house is in shambles. Without enough new pledges, the house will be lost and the sorority will be shut down. All of the current members are weirdos and dorks of varying degrees (one wears a full body brace, one looks more like a man than a woman, one is still a virgin, etc.). Shelley gives them all a makeover, cleans up the house, throws some parties, and shows them all how to attract guys. The problem is that the script, stuck in the confines of the PG-13 rating, never does anything remotely surprising with it's fairly clever concept. It's all incredibly predictable and the filmmaking is shoddy around the edges. Yet because of Faris' involvement, the film remains watchable, and in some cases, quite funny. Sure, the jokes are easy and obvious, but Faris is so damn winning, so cute, so spunky, and so confident in the role that she makes the brisk 90 minute run time fly by. She's been a major standout in just about everything she's appeared in. She kicked off the SCARY MOVIE franchise with panache. She stole the few scenes that she appeared in during LOST IN TRANSLATION, playing a hollow, Cameron Diaz-esque actress. She stole the show in the underrated but crude rom-com JUST FRIENDS. She was a comedic tour de force in the independent stoner comedy SMILEY FACE. And she had a lot of fun playing herself a few seasons ago on ENTOURAGE. It's jut a shame that the script didn't serve her better in THE HOUSE BUNNY. Lutz and Smith have done good comedy writing before; 10 THINS I HATE ABOUT YOU and LEGALLY BLONDE were both solid genre entries. But THE HOUSE BUNNY is the epitome of undemanding, lazy entertainment. A solid idea is more or less wasted but intermittently saved whenever Faris shows up and ignites her inner comedic spark plug. THE HOUSE BUNNY is an effective-enough time waster, something to catch on HBO.
Oh, and did I mention that she's pretty hot?