The House Bunny

Movie review by
Sandie Angulo Chen, Common Sense Media
The House Bunny Movie Poster Image
Some laughs, but an iffy message for girls.
  • PG-13
  • 2008
  • 100 minutes

Parents say

age 13+
Based on 8 reviews

Kids say

age 12+
Based on 28 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

Although the movie's ostensible message is that everyone should just be who they are, young female viewers are much more likely to get the idea that they need to be thin, tan, and dolled up to be sexy and attractive to the opposite sex. While there's nothing wrong with wanting to look nice, the Zeta girls go from not caring a fig for how they look to (temporarily) becoming just as judgmental and looks-obsessed as the sorority girls they disliked. Shelley's dream is to be a Playboy centerfold. On the other hand, at least Shelley makes philanthropy cool (even if she can't say the word properly). The Iota Mu sisters are typical movie "mean girls," doing their best to humiliate the Zetas and stand in the way of their success. A girl in a back brace is mocked.

Violence

A woman violently twists the nipples of a man she's angry with (but he actually enjoys it); Shelley gets hurt standing over a steaming manhole cover. Several pratfalls.

Sex

All of the scenes featuring Playboy bunnies show women nearly undressed. Shelley walks around in lingerie, bikinis, or other cleavage-bearing outfits all the time. She disrobes in front of the sorority, and her nude body is visible from the back for a few seconds. As for actual sex, there isn't any, but there are a couple of quick kisses and lots of flirting and conversations about virginity/hooking up (including a symbolic "sacrifice" of one of the virginal sorority sisters). One male character is in thrall of a woman who turns him on by twisting his nipples painfully. Star Anna Faris appeared in Playboy (though not fully naked) at the time of the film's premiere.

Language

Mostly the word "bitch" and its variations, plus one "f--kin'" and body parts like "nipples," "boobies," "penis," etc.

Consumerism

The Playboy brand, the Playboy mansion, and Hugh Hefner are featured throughout the film. Also shown are Haagen-Dazs ice cream and the make-up store Sephora. Shelley mentions a Prius.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Lots of drinking at the Playboy mansion and the college campus' Greek parties, where presumably some students are under 21.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that although this fluffy college-set comedy is supposedly about why it's important to be yourself, it has some iffy messages for the tween and young teen girls who are most likely to want to see it -- chiefly, that women need to doll themselves up to attract the opposite sex. Since main character Shelley is a Playboy bunny, sex in general is a main theme of the movie, even though the only "action" is a couple of kisses. There are constant references to Playboy: The mansion, the magazine, and Hugh Hefner himself all play central roles in the plot. Scenes set in the mansion include scads of barely dressed bunnies wearing revealing lingerie or tiny bikinis, and Shelley does the same even after she leaves (in one scene, the entire length of her nude body is visible from the back). Characters also discuss sex and virginity. One sorority sister is pregnant, but her pregnancy is used like a prop instead of taken seriously. Language includes one "f--k" and many uses of "bitch," and characters drink frequently (though generally not to excess) at both the mansion and college parties.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byMatt B. October 27, 2015

Funny teen movie

This a sexual teen movie. A woman makes a reference to oral sex (only implied). There are lots of sexual references throughout.
Parent of a 13 year old Written byroyalblue246 August 8, 2010

I think anyone could watch this

I really like this movie it is pretty funny!
Teen, 17 years old Written byResponsible00 March 12, 2011

PERFECT for anyone over the age of 12

This movie is rated very harshly. It is about playboy bunnies, but there's nothing about it that a teenager cannot see. This is definitely ok for 13 and up...
Kid, 11 years old July 24, 2010
I am 11 and ive got it because i thought that it was really funny. but it is quite rude and it does say b*** alot but other than that the actors are good at wat... Continue reading

What's the story?

Shelley (Anna Faris) is an enthusiastic Playboy bunny whose life goal is to become a centerfold. She lives happily in Hugh Hefner's mansion until the day she's kicked out, supposedly for turning 27. Dazed, she ends up wandering the streets of Los Angeles until she stumbles upon Greek row at a local college. The sorority houses look like "miniature Playboy mansions" to her, so she walks into the Zeta house, which is about to lose its charter, and asks to be their house mother. Zeta's "misfit" sisters -- including timid, back-braced Joanne (Rumer Willis); heavily pierced brainiac Mona (Kat Dennings); heavily pregnant Harmony (Katharine McPhee); and dorky-but-beautiful-behind-her-glasses Natalie (Emma Stone) -- can't get anyone to pledge, but the scantily clad Shelley promises to save them by transforming the shy, cerebral clan into sexy, dolled-up hotties.

Is it any good?

Faris is a gifted comedic actress who frequently manages to elicit laughs out of lowbrow material. She's a master at playing sweet-but-stupid sexbots. But in THE HOUSE BUNNY, her innate charm just underscores the movie's disturbing theme -- that young women have to transform themselves into vapid, cleavage-bearing party girls to be happy or fall in love, which is a dangerous message to send young girls. (Everything ends on a "just be yourself" note, but that pales in comparison to 90 minutes of lingerie and bedroom hair.)

One of the reasons that Revenge of the Nerds is such a classic college comedy is that the guys don't change. They prove themselves worthy of popularity (and love) despite being nerds. In this case, the nerdy girls have to dramatically alter their appearance -- courtesy of ridiculously short skirts, three layers of makeup, and water-filled push-up bras -- to catch a guy's attention or appeal to potential pledges. It's sad that two decades after Gilbert, Lewis, and Booger proved that nerds are cool, these girls have to resort to objectifying stereotypes to save their sorority.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about whether Shelley is a good role model. Is her dream of becoming a Playboy centerfold an admirable one? What do the Zeta sisters learn from her? What does she learn from them? What is the movie's message about young women? What does "sisterhood" mean, according to the Zetas? Ultimately, does the movie reinforce stereotypes or undermine them?

Movie details

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