The House Bunny is the only movie that allows Anna Faris and Emma Stone to share the same screen and since the movie views women to Faris’ standard, Stone will probably never get this naked and Mean Girls-y again. Shelley Darlingson (Faris), being last out in the orphanage (the movie pays lip service to this part of Shelley’s character which, to be honest, is all it needs), always thinks of herself as an outsider even though she has one of the most coveted jobs that conventionally beautiful women have, a job that some of those women use to stab each other with. She’s grateful and has a sunny perception – she says something like “It’s like being naked in the centre of a magazine and people unfold you!” – about her precarious place within the mansion, as a 27-year-old she sees herself as 59 in Bunny years. After being schemed out of the Playboy mansion, Shelley becomes house-mother to Stone’s sorority house – the Zetas – although both mentor each other, the former with knowledge about how to attract men to help them save their sorority house and the latter knowing how to attract a man who isn’t superficial (Colin Hanks, obviously son of Tom). One of the movie’s funniest montages involve her trying to smarten herself by reading many books at once in a library and going to senior level classes in which she’s not enrolled. It reminds me of one of the movie’s earlier scenes where she asks one of the girls from a rival house where all the desks are. Both scenes are, to my limited knowledge of the subgenre of frat/sorority movies, the biggest indictment of college culture in cinema.
Stone, like her other housemates (Kat Dennings, Katherine McPhee Rumer Willis) go through two makeovers. The first, through Shelley’s guiding hand, takes too long to set up. The second is when one of the Zetas tell the other that they’ve become as superficial as their rivals. Stone’s character soberly advertising Zeta’s mission statement as being about acceptance is how we’ll see her onscreen persona in future rules.
Even if Faris and Stone are regarded as underrated comic gems stuck in a cinematic era that treats them like shit, the former, a secret national treasure and a celebrity impression that some cheerleaders have in their comic arsenal – is good but not enough to elevate this movie. There is absolutely no reason for everyone to watch this movie or to call this as a comedy – but then I read a lot of complaints that contemporary mainstream comedy isn’t funny so I guess this movie’s first few scenes might fit in with that description – and I felt the same way until I heard Faris’ voice get deeper and more guttural because that’s the way Shelley remembers names. I’m immature and get amused by stuff like that – it’s actually the first thing I’ll remember with this movie, the ‘erythromycin/meteor’ soliloquy in the end being the second. OHLIVEHR! That voice, simply enough, makes Faris’ Shelley a physically straining, full-bodied performance. You can call it as Faris putting the wool under our eyes but I still like it.
Aside from those two leads the movie also boasts a cast that sounds useless on paper but are awesome together. I tweeted earlier that McPhee acts and sings more here than in all of “Smash” and I stand by that. And who knew that Willis, whose character is stuck in a body brace for most of the movie, ends up having the best body in a cast of many beautiful women? Dennings in her most sarcastic yet most restrained, surprisingly. I love the scene where the sorority girls take out their fake eyelashes and tell each other that despite of Shelley’s inadvertent bad influence the latter still has style. Anyway, back to the cast, Beverly D’Angelo’s villain reminds us that, despite not necessarily deserving a lead role in anything, she’s a competent and more preserved Faye Dunaway. This is an ensemble picture in, as many would see it, its worst and most embarrassing way bot I can’t knock it because of its entertainment value and that I keep rooting for these actresses in their future projects.
I wanna start this post with a little farewell.
Aquaman, with gloves on. I’ll send you on a farm, with lots of land so you and other Aquamen can run around. Play in the aquafields.
For some reason, I thought of that line as Steve Carrell making fun of his character, Andy.
And before I start talking about the scene, I just wanna air our a ‘style guide’ item. Do not call a woman or a female character shrill even if. Ever. It’s like calling a black person or character articulate.
But here I am sort of breaking my rules by talking about a scene in The 40 Year Old Virgin, where we’re a few generations after free love but we still have problems. Fine, the scene isn’t directed in a way that I would think a well-directed scene would be. How did Trish (Catherine Keener) even find out that her daughter Marla (Kat Dennings) wants to have sex? How are they still yelling at each other in between Andy’s bike ride to her house? How near does she live from the store? However, this is a comedy, and I don’t know the rules for that yet. And you know what, I like Catherine Keener here. She bellows at her daughter, believably softens a little to Andy and to figure out what Marla is saying and gradually brings her volume back up for Marla. Watching them go at each other makes my throat hurt.
I love the exchange here.”Oh, mistake. Okay, so I was a mistake then?” “Oh, you’re not a mistake. Your sister was the mistake!” Or “Oh my God, are you kidding? We never have sex! Do we ever have sex?” “No we don’t.” “Ah-ha!” “What?! You do, you’re such a liar! Why are you lying to me! Why?” And Marla says something about boyfriend and go. They realistically show their emotions on top of their lines. Some fights don’t have high and low volume times, they’re just fights. And one of the greatest ones I’ve seen under 90 seconds.
She shows she has a life outside and before her boyfriend. It’s arguable that she is or isn’t a perfect mother but she’s protective and has good intentions. Trish is comfortable enough to introduce Andy to her ‘real family,’ opening up to her flaws. She asks “Oh God, you wanna run away, don’t you?” and like a gentleman, Andy doesn’t. Because Andy has his own flaws and secrets too.
- Interview: Steve Carrell (guardian.co.uk)
It’s verboten to start any blog entry or any film criticism, major or minor, with the words “I’m drunk,” but imbibing Labatt’s is where I got the idea for this story. Of course, there’s the guy who helped me with said ideas whom I eventually made out with, and yes, tonight I made out with someone who likes Star Wars. Don’t worry, he was cute. And fuck you, it’s my blog, I can talk about my romantic exploits here.
Anyway, he pretty much defended the newer Star Wars. It’s been a while since I’ve seen them. He said that the vehement criticism of the newer Star Wars attacked specifically Anakin as a character. From what I remember from the criticism, it’s that at least Han Solo and Princess Leia fit the rebellious, pissed off cool of the cusp of the 70’s. Anakin was just a whiny emo bitch.
Well wasn’t that the (male) narrative of the past decade?
I’m not gonna say that Lucas was ahead of the curve in regards to the emo thing. If I give him that much credit 29 of you will stone me to death. What I’m gonna give him credit for is that he was at least honest about this type of male youth. Anakin had a sense of entitlement, and that made him an asshole. He wasn’t like “Michael Cera is just misunderstood, and he wears band shirts and hoodies, and he’ll get Kat Dennings in the end.” No. It is this entitlement that he and I suppose other men in this era have acquired that lead to their own destruction as well as the genocidal destruction of those around them.
Yes, Christensen couldn’t carry “Jumper,” but he straddled the line between boy and destroyer so well. I’ve also yet to see the dual values like this within the same character. And it’d be a bitch to cast that role with the crop of young actors we have today.
As with a lot of flawed movies especially of the past decade, female characters are like hollow vessels in the new Star Wars. You’re a former elected monarch and senator, Amidala, what are you doing with this bozo?
Also, “Star Wars II” came out in 2002. The first “Spiderman” about the eponymous young man figuring out his special abilities came out the same year, starring Tobey Maguire instead of someone hulkier. But in the music front, that’s the same time that Dashboard Confessionals and other emo bands came into ubiquity. “Star Wars III” came out in 2005, this time having film parallels with “Hotel Rwanda,” “Cache” and “Syriana” in the race war side, as well as “Brick” and “L’Enfant” in the generational subject.
Yes, watching a white boy whine that other white people and green people are bringing him down is fucking annoying, You’d probably read articles in Esquire now and then pleading to stop this emo thing. But Anakin as a representative of his generation is still a good point to consider.