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Film / The House Bunny

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A 2008 Romantic Comedy, The House Bunny stars Anna Faris as Shelley Darlington, a Playboy Bunny who gets kicked out of the mansion for being too old at the age of 27. With nowhere else to go, she ends up at Zeta Alpha Zeta, a sorority house of losers that will lose their charter if they don't attract new pledges. Most of the film's humor comes from taking standard makeover and college sorority tropes and exaggerating them to point of light parody, while still playing them straight.


This film provides examples of:

  • The Alleged Car: Shelley's old wagon backfires constantly and scares nearby animals when she opens the door.
  • All Guys Want Sorority Women: Shelley teaches the girls to invoke this trope to attract new pledges.
  • All-Loving Heroine: Shelley is so much kinder than people give her credit for, mostly because of her bunny reputation.
  • Alpha Bitch: Ashley and for a time the protagonists.
  • As Himself: Hugh Hefner, as well as his then-girlfriends Holly Madison, Kendra Wilkinson, and Bridget Marquardt all appear in the film as themselves.
  • Backstabbing the Alpha Bitch: Courtney, Ashley's seemingly loyal Beta Bitch sidekick, has had enough with the Phi Iota Mu (and Ashley, with the way she treats her horribly) that she describes it as "hell", and decides to pledge Zeta, making her the last pledge needed in order to save their house.
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  • Becoming the Mask: After their makeover, they start to act just like the girls they always hated.
  • Beautiful All Along: When Shelley gives the Zeta Alpha Zeta girls makeovers. Even after they tone it down later in the film, they still look great.
  • Book Dumb: Shelley, but to impress Oliver she goes out of her way to avert this.
  • Brainless Beauty/Dumb Blonde: Played with. Shelley is naive, talks a bit too much, and often seems like The Ditz in general, but she proves as the film goes on that you can't simply brush her off as an airhead.
  • Breast Attack: Ashley has a habit of punching her best friend Courtney in the boob when she's in a bad mood. She herself becomes a victim of this when Mrs. Hagstrom punches her chest.
  • Buxom Is Better: In one scene, Shelley makes an offhand comment implying that she's had a boob job.
  • Chick Flick: Kind of a mix of this and trashy college comedy.
  • Cool Old Guy: The movie incarnation of Hugh Hefner is this. When he finds out that Shelley was tricked into leaving the Playboy Mansion, he personally tracks her down so that he can tell her everybody at the mansion misses her and invites her to come back home.
  • Eenie, Meenie, Miny Moai: These are seen at the party, even though the party has an Aztec theme. However, this is directly lampshaded by Natalie when she comments that the decorations, including the Moai, aren't accurate to the theme.
  • Fallen Princess: Shelley, from a Playboy Bunny living in Playboy Mansion with her pink Prius to (temporarily) living in her old car and even ending up one night in jail, after getting kicked out for (supposedly) being too old for Playboy.
  • Fanservice: Shelley's naked ass, not even really a joke for it. They just wanted us to see it (and thank God for that).
  • Gainaxing: Kat Dennings is in this movie.
  • Generation Xerox: Mean and snobby Alpha Bitch Ashley punches her Girl Posse in her chest when she's upset, later her mean and snobby mom does the same thing to her.
  • The Glasses Got To Go: Natalie's makeover consisted entirely of this, after passing through a very short-lived slutty phase.
  • Guttural Growler: For whatever reason, Shelley does this to remember names.
  • Hidden Depths: Shelley initially seems to be a Malaproper, but whenever anyone calls her out on this, it turns out she means what she said and usually in a very insightful way.
  • Hollywood Nerd: Emma Stone, Katharine Mcphee and Kat Dennings are amongst the most egregious examples.
  • Hot Librarian: Trying to tone down her sexuality and appear more "intellectual" for her second date with Oliver, Shelley ends up affecting this look (albeit inadvertently).
  • Insult Backfire: Shelley thinks anything said to her is a compliment. When she responds this way to insults, people usually don't know how to react and she wins the moment.
  • Kindhearted Simpleton: Shelley's naive to a fault, but very sweet to people, even when they don't deserve it.
  • Marilyn Maneuver: Parodied. Shelley this while standing over an open pothole... and gets severely burned.
  • Mistaken for Gay: Shelley briefly thinks that Oliver is gay because she fails to seduce him on their first date.
    Shelley: I don't think he likes me. He didn't fall for any of my tricks.
    Natalie: That's impossible. Your tricks always work.
    Shelley: I did sexy. I did other guys want me. I worked every angle in the book but - I don't know - he just kind of stared.
    Natalie: What if Oliver is one of those guys who wants to have, like, a conversation with a girl before he hooks up with her?
    Shelley: He's gay?
  • Mistreatment-Induced Betrayal: Courtney turns on Ashley mostly due to how horribly she treats her.
  • Modesty Towel: Played with. Shelley likes to "air dry" and steps out of the shower topless with a towel wrapped around her waist and another on her hair. Natalie tells her she has to cover up because most of the girls in the house haven't seen their own bodies and Shelley naked may be too much of a shock. She refuses and drops the towel. Cue Reaction Shot.note 
  • Ms. Fanservice: Although this is mostly a Chick Flick, the fact that the movie features a very fit-looking Anna Faris wearing lots of revealing outfits means that guys (and some girls too) will have something to enjoy.
  • Naked People Are Funny: Shelley "prefers to air dry" when she gets out of the shower, which freaks out her new housemates.
  • Need a Hand, or a Handjob?: Inverted when Shelley misunderstands what a cop, who had pulled her over for DUI, means when he asks her to "blow".
  • Nice Guy: Oliver, which sadly Shelley isn't used to after a life of Playboy.
  • Not Distracted by the Sexy: On their first date, Shelley attempts to impress Oliver by dressing sexy, flirting heavily with him, and showing that other men want her. She doesn't accomplish anything besides making Oliver uncomfortable.
  • Out Giving Birth, Back in Two Minutes: Harmony gives birth offscreen as the rest of her sorority fights for recognition... and comes back with her new daughter while still in her hospital bed.
  • Parental Abandonment: When Shelley was just a baby, she was left on the front porch of an orphanage.
  • Power Walk: The girls do this after they get their The Makeover.
  • Pity Sex: While not sex per se, in one scene Shelley mentions that she once let Bob Saget grind against her during a party as an act of charity.
  • Playboy Bunny: The title character, Shelley.
    • Some of the real-life playboy bunnies make a cameo as themselves.
  • Plucky Girl: Shelley, given all the troubles she has gone through.
  • The Pollyanna: Although dimwitted, Shelley is incredibly kindhearted and trusting. When people insult her, she always misinterprets it as a compliment and responds as such, resulting in an Insult Backfire.
  • Reality Ensues: Shelley tries to recreate Marilyn Monroe's upskirt scene in The Seven Year Itch with a heat vent. She ends up burning herself, resulting in a Precision F-Strike.
  • Rich Bitch: The Phi Iota Mu house.
  • Scenery Censor: When Joanne bumps into a naked Shelley in the stairs, her head blocks a full frontal shot of her crotch.
  • Sesquipedalian Loquaciousness: After Shelley starts studying, she keeps dropping 25 cent words into casual conversations. Even when she's not trying to impress Oliver.
    Shelley: No! No! This is germane to our predicament!
  • Shameless Fanservice Girl: Shelley is not ashamed of walking around in the buff showing the body "God and Dr. Borkman" gave her.
  • Shoulders-Up Nudity/Toplessness from the Back: Shelley when she's "air drying".
  • Shout-Out: Joanne runs and chases a guy and breaks her neckbrace while doing it, a la Forrest Gump (Shelley even encourages her by saying, "Run, Joanne, Run!"), the movie that stars Tom Hanks, whose son, Colin Hanks, plays as Oliver in this movie.
  • Single Woman Seeks Good Man: Shelley ends up falling for Oliver, a genuinely nice guy who works at a retirement home and wants to get to know Shelley as a person instead of just trying to sleep with her.
  • Sudden Principled Stand: When the rest of the sorority begin acting like the same mean girls they had despised Lily, who had been completely silent up until then, decides she's had enough and calls them all out on it.
  • Too Much Information: Shelley overshares. A lot. At one point she tells a room full of people about every single part of her body that got itching from an allergic reaction.
  • Unwanted Assistance: Eventually in-universe, the girls say "Stop Helping Me" to Shelley, when they realize that they've become as shallow and petty as the Phi Iota Mu girls. Then they start to miss having her around, and invite her back.
  • Virgin Sacrifice: Sort of. A virgin is selected to be sent down a slide into a vat of warm gelatin for a party.
  • The Voiceless: The painfully shy Lily, who communicates via notes. When she does speak, it's to call out the other girls on the monsters they've become. It's also revealed that she's British.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Lily gives one of these to her sorority sisters after their new popularity causes them to become shallow and conceited.
  • You Were Trying Too Hard: Shelley's first date with Oliver ends in disaster because, being used to guys who are just trying to have sex with her, she plays up her sexiness and flirts heavily with Oliver. But Oliver actually wants to get to know Shelley instead of just sleeping with her. Their second date goes just as badly because Shelley attempts to appear intellectual by toning down her appearance, wearing glasses that aren't prescribed to her, and uses note cards in an attempt to sound smart. At the end of the film she realizes that she was trying too hard to impress Oliver and decides to just be herself.


Example of: