Dumbed- down “The Rocker” and “House Bunny” suffer similar fate
Two new comedies, “The Rocker” and “House Bunny,” target the same teen-to-young adult audience, share similar plot themes and fail for similar reasons. Both retread familiar material and lack creative humor, and rely on ill-equipped stars who, despite their best efforts, can’t rescue the very ordinary scripts they are given.
When you are in a theater and most of the audience is laughing consistently and you are not, there’s a good chance you are NOT a member of the target demographic. Few people past their 20s will have any reason to see “House Bunny” starring Anna Faris (the “Scary Movie” series) as a former Playboy playmate who gets kicked out of Hef’s mansion and finds her own redemption as a sorority house mother.
She’s determined to save Zeta Alpha Zeta, which is in desperate need of pledges, but first the ex-bunny must overhaul a motley crew of misfit members. She knows what boys like-gorgeous, skinny bimbos who run around nearly naked. She sets out to educate the girls with help of water bras and lip gloss, and gives every one of them a major makeover. Faris’s Marilyn Monroe-inspired breathy delivery feels forced and gets old fast. Reece Witherspoon’s performance in “Legally Blonde” was glorious by comparison. The lone male character with half a brain (played by Colin Hanks, Tom’s son) is nice but unconvincing. As for the sorority girls, only the scene-stealing Emma Stone (see “The Rocker”) shows any promise.
The film partially works because the film also wants to send a disingenuous but not altogether unworthy “be yourself” message. On the other hand, Hugh Hefner’s presence here also tacitly approves of the brainless, sex-object manner in which his bunnies are represented.
Rating: PG-13 for sex-related humor, partial nudity and language.