The House Bunny; new film, old issues
The House Bunny. It's new, it's funny, and it's going to be an excuse to strut out pretty girls while reinforcing society's negative view of women. If you check out the IMDB page for the film you can see the raging message board war about whether the movie is setting the women's movement back several years or if feminists are all just ugly women with unshaven legs (blah, blah, blah).
Without seeing the movie, it's difficult to judge the entire film. However, I can judge what the filmmakers have already released as publicity for the movie. And judge it I will.
First off, the official synopsis.
Shelley (Ana Faris) is living a carefree life until a rival gets her tossed out of the Playboy Mansion.
Translation: An example of women competing for status and sexual attractiveness. They both can't be the object of Hugh's affections so one of them has to go.
With nowhere to go, fate delivers her to the sorority girls from Zeta Alpha Zeta. Unless they can sign a new pledge class, the seven socially clueless women will lose their house to the scheming girls of Phi Iota Mu.
Translation: Shelley is introduced as living a "carefree life," the girls are introduced as "socially clueless." Why go with this version when you could say that Shelley is a dimwitted freeloader and the Zetas are intelligent young students? Living a life without actually having to do anything (except take your clothes off on command) is preferred to studying and learning. Also, there's more female competition! We girls can't quite get along, can we?
In order to accomplish their goal, they need Shelley to teach them the ways of makeup and men;
Translation: Yes, because why try to appeal to other girls who are intelligent and in the same social situation that they are in when the Zetas can simply turn themselves into the sorority girls who are their rivals? Will they then begin to mock girls such as themselves for not spending hours coordinating their outfits?
Also, if they need to get more pledges from women, then why must they attract men? To make themselves popular with girls they have to be considered sexually attractive to boys. Seducing a man is a true test of female worth.
at the same time, Shelley needs some of what the Zetas have - a sense of individuality. The combination leads all the girls to learn how to stop pretending and start being themselves.
Translation: The Zetas aren't being genuine until they're caked in make-up? They have a sense of individuality yet they're pretending? Wouldn't turning themselves from smart, conservative, studious women into stilleto-wearing arm candy be pretending?
Also, Shelley seemed to have no problem with her life as it was. She didn't long for intelligence. She was completely happy lounging by a pool for the rest of her life when her dreams of being totally unproductive.
Next, the official poster.
Shelley stands at the forefront wearing her pink ears and her pink outfit with her pink suitcases. Meanwhile, the intelligent girls are standing behind the house door, trapped at the threshold. They are ugly and tragic in contrast to Shelley's perky appearance. The Zetas are waiting in the wings, too unattractive to step out into the real world. After all, they can't. They don't have bunny ears.
Finally, the trailer. That is what the movie makers want us to see in order to send us stampeding into the theater. What message comes across in the trailer itself. What point are the clips trying to make?
The official trailer, located on the official website, goes a little something like this:
Shelley learns that she's being kicked out of the Playboy Mansion. The man who delivers the message states that it might be because of her age. She's only 27, but that's 59 in bunny years, he tells her.
Translation: women have an expiration date. Before Shelley is even thirty she finds out that she's past her stride. Meanwhile, Hefner is old enough to be her grandfather and is a permanent fixture at the house. He is ruling the Playboy Mansion, not Shelley, contradictory to what the opening voice over states.
Shelley sobs to a Mexican man that she doesn't know what to do. He tell her that she needs a "yob."
Translation: First off, way to be racist. Without the validation of her sexual attractiveness Shelley is lost. Who or what is she if she's not a topless model?
Shelley runs into a meeting of the housemothers of the sororities. They are older, unattractive and starchy. They inform Shelley that the sororities are not a brothel to which Shelley responds "Oh, I'm not looking to make soup."
Translation: Shelley isn't the brightest crayon in the box. She is foiled against these older, more conservative, more intelligent women and guess who comes out on top?
The sorority mother informs Shelley that she could be in charge of the Zetas, as their last house mother "was hospitalized with hallucinations." "Awesome," Shelley responds.
Translation: Something is seriously wrong with the Zetas. They might breed mental health problems. Also, hallucinations are awesome? What exactly is that supposed to mean?
Shelley goes to the Zeta sorority to become their housemother. There is a shot of the sisters. They are unmade up, unfashionable, and unattractive. One of the girls sadly asks "How can we be so smart, but everyone kinda thinks we're losers?"
Translation: Intelligence is not valued. Shelley's miniskirt and make-up is more socially acceptable, therefore more important.
The Zeta girls are mocked by the "popular kids."
Translation: They really are losers. The beautiful people don't like them.
Shelley meets the girls. They want to be popular, they want to meet boys, and they want Shelley to help. Shelley does some weird low growling voice in order to remember their names.
Translation: They're still losers and what the hell is up with that voice?
Shelley learns that one of the Zetas is in "love" with a guy that she's never spoken to. She then tells her sisters that "next year, all the girls will want to pledge Zeta."
Translation: Without make-up the Zetas are destined to be loveless spinsters slaving over their books when they could be out getting drunk and making out with strange men. Being popular is where it's at. Being intelligent won't get you popular, but mascara, manicures and hours at the salon will. Who needs to study when your hair is in curlers?
The girls are made over! And they confidently walk down the street arm-in-arm. The redheaded Zeta says "Now we can be the best versions of ourselves."
Translation: The girls are not complete until they have push-up bras. Their success suddenly hinges on their sexuality, which Shelley has already demonstrated, is very, very fragile.
Also, did anyone notice that the Zetas, while being unattractive, are all thin. Getting someone contacts and dying their hair is easy, but there is no liquid-powder cure for being overweight. Imagine a size 14 girl in the same mini-skirts and tube tops. Disgusted yet?
But this isn't the first film revolving around a house of unpopular sorority sisters. The movie Sorority Boys also had beautiful people stuck in the middle of an unattractive group of females. But their one saving grace is that they were all thin. And like the star of She's All That it just takes a red dress and some hair products to achieve effortless perfection.
The Zetas are "educating" Shelley. But as soon as the voice over stops, Shelley is suddenly distracted by a boy that she met. She hasn't been able to seduce him and this is cause for an upset. She then stands over a manhole and tries to imitate Marilyn Monroe. Shelley then realizes that the steam is "freaking hot."
Translation: Er, yeah, let's throw something in there about education. Okay, now back to being obsessed with boys. It's also ironic that Shelley hurts herself while trying to seduce a man. How far is she willing to go?
"What if Oliver doesn't mind a smart girl?" One of the Zetas questioned.
Translation: Wait, what? A boy wants someone who has a brain? How can that be? Shelley's eyeshadow and low cut tops didn't get her anywhere? What planet is this man from?!
Also, why is this said like it's such a strange thing? Is it odd for a young man to want to date someone who can hold a conversation? If that is true, then why doesn't he date one of the Zeta girls? Oh wait, that's right, they haven't discovered water bras yet.
Oliver wants to know who Shelley is going to vote for. She strongly states that she always agrees with Paula and Randy.
Translation: Shelley knows nothing about current events. Much like the rest of the US where more people voted for American Idol than they did for the president. She's brainless, but she's cute!
This is what is supposed to motivate us to see this film. This preview should encourage us to fork over our hard earned money to watch it. This is the best representation of the film that we are presented with.
What do you think?