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Reviews » Blu-ray Reviews » The House Bunny (Blu-ray)
The House Bunny (Blu-ray)
Sony Pictures // PG-13 // December 19, 2008 // Region A
List Price: $39.95 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by Michael Zupan | posted December 18, 2008 | E-mail the Author
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When I see 'from the creators of Legally Blonde' on a Blu-ray case, I don't run away with my tail between my legs. As far as chick flicks go, Legally Blonde was very well put together, and highly entertaining. I wasn't aware that those very same people were the ones to bring The House Bunny to the big screen, so when I found out, I was fairly stoked. Anna Faris, as a bunny, with comical context... and my wife would watch it with me?! Somebody hit a goldmine when they came up with this idea! The execution however, is a completely different story, as The House Bunny fails to live up to the hype, and not even a smokin' Anna Faris in skimpy clothing can fix that... although it certainly doesn't hurt!

Shelley is a house guest in the Playboy mansion, and she's aspired her entire life to one day become a centerfold. Every month she's passed over, and another year has gone. Shelley just turned 27, but since that's like, 59 in bunny years, she's hauled out on her keester and left to fend for herself. Hope seems like a distant memory in the real world, because all she knows how to do is flirt with guys and party.

Her luck turns around when she stumbles upon Zeta house, a sorority that's run by a handful of social outcasts. Because of their invisible social status, they have no pledges in their house. As a result, the college is getting ready to take away their charter so a more deserving sorority can take a shot at utilizing the space appropriately. What a coincidence! Shelley knows all about being popular, and how to get there!

The smart, nerdy, and unkempt are all transformed into campus vixens, quickly drawing the attention of other pretty girls to join the sorority, as well as the dumb jocks that they've been dying to talk to forever. They're becoming so popular, the biggest sorority on campus is growing concerned, so they begin to make a scheme to put the Zetas down for good.

Shelley meets a nice guy that she wants to have a relationship with, but the simple tricks she was able to teach the girls to grab the attention of partying college dudes are resisted. She found a man she never encountered before... one that wanted a deep and intelligent conversation. Her only chance is to transform into what her sorority girls used to be, plain and smart.

There are a lot of things that went wrong with The House Bunny. There were some pacing issues throughout the course of the film, first and foremost. A good chunk of the film is stylish and fun, but there are scenes that have no music, no score, and lots of dialogue. For a fun girl power/coming of age flick, the energy has to remain high! Don't get me wrong, I'm not opposed to lots of dialogue, but the script was awful. The conversations were cliché and the jokes were stale. The biggest gag throughout the entire course of the film is a raspy voice that Anna's character uses to remember names. Really? That's it?

Not only that, but the plot had taken some very unimaginative turns. I shouldn't' be able to predict pretty much everything that happens in a movie, and if I can, it better be put together in a way that's consistently entertaining. Sticking Anna Faris in short shorts and tight tops doesn't make for a great movie! Showing her back side naked is a start (yes you read that right), but it still doesn't make for a better movie! You need to have fun, which this film did have occasionally, but you also need real drama and real heart. It just wasn't there though. The lessons lived and lessons learned by everyone in the film were practically taken out of the 'How to Make a Movie' text book. The audience of today needs a little more than that. When we're given a film that's as low caliber as The House Bunny, it's almost insulting.

The acting from the majority of the Zetas was pretty poor too, with the exception of Emma Stone as Natalie, who really did her character great justice. Unfortunately, the rest of them were acting like borderline high school play dropouts. I'm willing to cut them some slack on this though, because the script as I mentioned was very poor, and they were probably directed to act like stereotypes instead of real people. The problem with this is that they act like they're outcasts for a while, but as soon as they're transformed, they're instantly different people. There's no attention paid to the wonderful art of transition here I'm afraid.

There are worse ways to spend a couple of hours, because there are some redeeming moments now and again throughout the film. Unfortunately, the good is far from outweighing the bad.


Video

The print itself is very clean, but I have mixed feelings about the rest of the transfer.

The first issue I have with this transfer is a less than impressive contrast that certain films seem to have favored lately. This may be more of an artistic decision than the result of the transfer itself, but it's still fairly disappointing. Black levels are fairly deep most of the time, but can occasionally look in certain shots like its a little muddy. This wouldn't really matter that much if the 'brights' picked up the slack and made the contrast really pop, but unfortunately the contrast is rather flat. The end result is a picture that doesn't offer a great sense of depth.

The film seems to favor a warmer look, but this unfortunately makes the skin tones look a little too yellow at times, and a little too orange at others.

There doesn't appear to be any digital artifacting, or artificially created issues such as edge enhancement or DNR. I will say however, that there appears to be little to no skin/facial detail in this film. That may be the intent of the director however, since the main characters are meant to be seen in a superficial light, or glow. Not to mention the less than impressive contrast probably hides a lot of it too.

All in all this is a very clean looking release with nice color saturation, but unfortunately the warmer image causes some off skin tones and makes the picture look flat overall.

This was encoded with the AVC codec at a ratio of 2.35:1, and a resolution of 1080p.


Audio

There's not a whole lot to say about the Dolby TrueHD 5.1 track here. There are no compression issues to complain of in the audio department, but much like the image of the film itself, the entire mix sounds flat. The dialogue is always clean and clear, but there's hardly any use of the rears for audible dimensionality, and that includes songs from the soundtrack. The bass doesn't even get its pump on during the party songs throughout the film. This may be a lossless track, but it's incredibly underwhelming.


Extras

Deleted Scenes - There are 10 deleted scenes here, and they only add up to about 12 minutes worth of footage. They're not particularly funny, although the materials in these deleted scenes are equal to the quality of the jokes in the film itself. The pacing in the movie wasn't great either, so why these were cut is beyond me.

Featurettes - This really should be called a featurette, but somebody thought it was a great idea to make you jump back to the menu over and over again, as it's been split up into 12 mini-featurettes. Every piece of production is discussed with tons of behind the scenes footage and interviews, but the information isn't really all that riveting. I mean, we're talking about a film that's about as predictable as they come, and it's mainly about comedy and driven by dialogue. What could we possibly want to know that's going to be worth over 50 minutes of our time? I'll tell you - Not a whole lot.

I Know What Boys Like - Katherine McPhee throws down a pretty 'meh' version of the titled song, but if you sat through the end credits long enough to see the whole video alongside the credits, be warned that this is exactly the same thing.

There's also some BD-Live content, but unfortunately it's just a way for Sony advertise itself.

Overall the extras are pretty disappointing. There's not even a commentary here, and that's pretty basic. I mean Anna Faris was an executive producer on this film, why didn't she sit down to tell us her whole experience of being both on and behind the camera?


Overall

I really wanted to like The House Bunny. I've always liked Anna Faris as an actress, even if I am a little disappointed that she won't try to broaden her horizons with other genres of work. Unfortunately, issues with the script and pacing, as well as a lack of originality, make this film one that most of you should avoid. If you liked Legally Blonde and think you might find another clever and smart comedy mixed with a chick flick, you'd be wrong. The video is very pretty looking, but a flat contrast seems to spoil what could have been a fantastic looking Blu-ray presentation for your home theater, and the sound and extras are lacking as well. There are some moments in the film worth seeing, so I'd say that you might enjoy this as a rental, but anything more than that and you're probably better off throwing your money down on some real Playboy bunnies!
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