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The House Bunny

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The House Bunny
Theatrical release poster
Directed byFred Wolf
Written by
Produced by
CinematographyShelly Johnson
Edited byDebra Chiate
Music byWaddy Wachtel
Distributed bySony Pictures Releasing
Release date
  • August 22, 2008 (2008-08-22)
Running time
97 minutes
CountryUnited States
Budget$25 million[1]
Box office$70.4 million[2]

The House Bunny is a 2008 American comedy film directed by Fred Wolf, written by the writing team of Karen McCullah Lutz and Kirsten Smith, and produced by Adam Sandler, Jack Giarraputo, Anna Faris, Allen Covert, and Heather Parry. The film stars Faris, Colin Hanks, and Emma Stone, and tells the story of a former Playboy bunny who signs up to be the "house mother" of an unpopular university sorority after finding out she must leave the Playboy Mansion.

Produced by Adam Sandler's Happy Madison Productions in association with Alta Loma Entertainment and Relativity Media, The House Bunny was released in the United States on August 22, 2008, by Columbia Pictures. It received mixed reviews, but was a box office success, making $70.4 million on a $25 million budget.[2] The film and its soundtrack have gained a cult following.[3][4]


Shelley Darlingson is an aspiring Playboy Playmate living the life of luxury in the Playboy Mansion with Hugh Hefner. The day after her 27th birthday, she awakes to find a note, seemingly from Hefner, asking her to pack up and leave. The note is later revealed to be a forgery by jealous rival Playmate Cassandra.

Shelley happens to stumble upon a group of girls who remind her of herself: beautiful and fun. She follows them and sees that they live in luxury too. They turn out to be the Phi Iota Mu sorority, and though she is unable to join them because she is not a student, she tries to become a house mother, but the house mothers snobbishly reject her when she tries to join them.

Shelley makes her way down to the Zeta Alpha Zeta house, which appears to be far less luxurious than Phi Iota Mu. The members of the Zeta house are dowdy, socially awkward, and caught off guard by Shelley's bubbly nature, prompting them to initially reject her. Once they see Shelley's ability to attract boys, the Zetas change their mind and take in Shelley as their new "house mother", hoping she can save them: their sorority is in danger of being shut down unless it can get 30 new pledges to join.

During her time with the Zetas, Shelley meets and becomes attracted to an intellectual, altruistic guy named Oliver, who works at a retirement home. Shelley goes on a date with him. She uses seductive tactics that work with other guys, but they fail because Oliver actually wants to get to know Shelley rather than just hook up with her. To impress Oliver on their second date, Shelley starts attending classes and reading books, and tones down her appearance. The second date is also a disaster because she wears glasses that are not meant for her, and brings along notecards to help her sound smart.

Having gotten a makeover and lessons on how to attract guys and be popular, the Zetas throw a party, which is a huge success. Later, the Zetas are reviewing the girls who are hoping to pledge to Zeta. Lilly, a British Zeta sister with social anxiety, says their new popularity has made them conceited and forget the true value of sisterhood. When they realize what they have become, they blame Shelley—just as she returns from her unsuccessful date.

Although Shelley had just been invited back to the Playboy Mansion after Hefner had learned of the forged dismissal and decided to stay with the Zetas, the unexpected attack from them makes her reconsider and she calls back to accept the invitation. The Zetas then feel guilty and decide to give themselves a second makeover, this time being "Half-Shelley and Half-Themselves". They also decide to draw the pledges out at random instead of judging them for their looks and popularity. They show up at Shelley's photo shoot and ask for her to come back, to which she agrees, having changed her mind about her dream of being a centerfold.

Phi Iota Mu intercepts the invitations and prevents them from being mailed out, so the Zetas are again in danger of being shut down at the campus meeting of the Panhellenic Council. Shelley crashes the meeting and gives a heartfelt speech about what her experience with the Zetas has taught her about love and acceptance and asks for pledges on the spot; gradually 30 students agree to pledge, and the sorority is saved. Oliver and Shelley reconcile, and Shelley explains that she likes Oliver a lot and was trying too hard to impress him. They decide to start over with their relationship and Oliver is looking forward to getting to know the "real" Shelley.

The film ends with the Zetas and their new pledges celebrating. Shelley has remained in close contact with Hefner and her friends at the Playboy Mansion.


  • Anna Faris as Shelley Darlingson, an orphaned 27-year old former Playboy bunny who is forced to find a new home.
  • Colin Hanks as Oliver Hauser, Shelley's love interest who works at a retirement home.
  • Emma Stone as Natalie Sandler, a Zeta sister who is nerdy and intellectual, but open to new experiences.
  • Kat Dennings as Mona Rita, a Zeta sister who is cynical and sarcastic. She wears drab clothes and has many piercings. She is standoffish towards men and attractive women.
  • Christopher McDonald as Dean Simmons, the university dean.
  • Beverly D'Angelo as Mrs. Hagstrom, the Phi Iota Mu godmother who wants to put an end to the Zeta.
  • Katharine McPhee as Harmony Bowels, a Zeta sister who wears hippie clothing and is pregnant.
  • Rumer Willis as Joanne Davis, a Zeta sister who has for years perpetually worn a body brace.
  • Kiely Williams as Lilly Marsen, a Zeta sister from England with social anxiety who communicates by text only.
  • Dana Goodman as Carrie Mae Staten, a country Zeta sister who has masculine mannerisms and matching deep voice and clothes. She slouches and does not wear deodorant.
  • Kimberly Makkouk as Tanya Spirko, a Zeta sister who is of diminutive stature.
  • Monet Mazur as Cassandra, a new Playboy bunny who schemes to evict Shelley and claim stardom for herself.
  • Tyson Ritter as Colby Emmett, Natalie's love interest.
  • Sarah Wright as Ashley, the selfish and manipulative leader of the Phi Iota Mu sorority who regularly bullies the Zeta sorority.
  • Rachel Specter as Courtney, Ashley's long-suffering assistant.
  • Owen Benjamin as Marvin Dixon, the mixologist at the Playboy mansion and Cassandra's unwilling partner against Shelley.
  • Matt Barr as Tyler, the leader of Kappa.
  • Tyler Spindel as Steve, Joanne's love interest.



Faris filming a scene from the movie

Anna Faris originally pitched the idea of a Playboy bunny kicked out of the mansion to screenwriters Karen McCullah and Kirsten Smith. In Faris' initial pitch, the story had a darker tone and revolved around a Playboy model returning to the midwest and falling into drugs. A few months later, the screenwriters combined it with an idea they'd had about a mismatched sorority house and house mother.[5] The line "eyes are the nipples of the face" is, to the writers, "one of our proudest accomplishments, which really shows you how weird our job is."[5]

The trio eventually landed a meeting with Adam Sandler's company, Happy Madison Productions, when a producer got wind of their idea.[6] Sandler, who had previously worked with Faris on The Hot Chick, liked the story and signed on to develop the film, making it the first female-driven movie produced by his company.[7] The working title of the film was I Know What Boys Like.[8]

The film was shot over the summer of 2007.[8] Faris had a nude scene originally meant to be filmed with a body double, but she decided to do the scene herself.[9]


Critical reception[edit]

On Rotten Tomatoes The House Bunny has an approval rating of 43% based on 125 reviews, with an average rating of 5.10/10. The site's critical consensus reads, "Anna Faris is game, but she can't salvage this middling, formulaic comedy."[10] On Metacritic, the film has a weighted average score of 55 out of 100, based on 22 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews".[11] Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "B+" on an A+ to F scale.[12]

Variety's John Anderson stated the film is a "Blissfully broad comedy that should catapult Anna Faris into a singular kind of stardom."[13] Nathan Lee of The New York Times wrote the film "puts a cheerful spin on its many clichés", and "this particular wheel hasn’t been reinvented, but at least it gets a nice fresh coat of bubblegum-pink paint and a star to pilot it with aplomb."[14]

Box office[edit]

On August 22, 2008, The House Bunny was released in the US. It debuted at #1 on its first day of release making $5.91 million, but ultimately landed in second place for its opening weekend, making $14.53 million,[15] behind Ben Stiller's action-comedy film Tropic Thunder, which made $16.2 million. The film grossed $70 million worldwide ($48 million in North America and $22 million internationally).[2] The film debuted in the UK chart at #1 grossing almost $1 million in its first weekend.

Home media[edit]

The film was released on DVD and Blu-ray on December 19, 2008.[16] It was also released in a 6-movie collection called The Laugh Out Loud Collection with other Happy Madison films in 2013.


Though a soundtrack was not released, a single was released to iTunes on July 16, 2008.[17] The single was a cover of The Waitresses song, "I Know What Boys Like" (produced by Chad Hugo of The Neptunes) as performed by Katharine McPhee (featuring Kat Dennings, Emma Stone, and Rumer Willis) and including lyrics about the Zeta sisters. The trailers for the film included the songs "U + Ur Hand" by P!nk and "Do It Well" by Jennifer Lopez. The film also featured songs by artists including:


  1. ^ "The House Bunny (2008) - Financial Information". The Numbers. Archived from the original on 2020-07-20. Retrieved 2020-12-20.
  2. ^ a b c "The House Bunny (2008)". Box Office Mojo. IMDB. Archived from the original on 2011-08-22. Retrieved 2010-11-27.
  3. ^ Luu, Christopher (August 22, 2018). "It's Been 10 Years Since The House Bunny and the Movie's Stars Are Getting Nostalgic". InStyle. Archived from the original on June 11, 2022. Retrieved April 20, 2022.
  4. ^ Cobb, Kayla (November 29, 2018). "Anna Faris' 'The House Bunny' Is An Underrated Classic". Decider. Archived from the original on June 14, 2022. Retrieved April 20, 2022.
  5. ^ a b Carlin, Shannon (2018-09-05). "Revisiting "The House Bunny" With Its Writers Kirsten Smith & Karen McCullah Lutz 10 Years Later". Medium. Archived from the original on 2021-03-08. Retrieved 2021-03-18.
  6. ^ "The House Bunny (2008)". Made in Atlantis. August 20, 2014. Archived from the original on October 31, 2008. Retrieved April 20, 2008.
  7. ^ "'House Bunny' Anna Faris: 'Hef Just Stared At My Chest!'". NBC New York. August 21, 2008. Archived from the original on July 22, 2023. Retrieved April 20, 2022.
  8. ^ a b Carroll, Larry (August 29, 2007). "Anna Faris' 'Bunny' Is Now 'I Know What Boys Like'". MTV News. Archived from the original on April 21, 2022. Retrieved April 20, 2022.
  9. ^ "Anna Faris interview about 'The House Bunny.'". PopEntertainment.com. August 22, 2008. Archived from the original on November 18, 2008. Retrieved April 21, 2022.
  10. ^ "The House Bunny (2008)". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango Media. Archived from the original on March 13, 2016. Retrieved May 21, 2019.
  11. ^ The House Bunny reviews at Metacritic Edit this at Wikidata
  12. ^ "Cinemascore". Archived from the original on 2018-12-20.
  13. ^ Anderson, John (August 21, 2008). "The House Bunny". Variety. Archived from the original on 2023-07-22. Retrieved 2020-11-27.
  14. ^ Lee, Nathan (August 21, 2008). "The Misadventures of an Ex-Centerfold". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Archived from the original on October 27, 2022. Retrieved April 21, 2022.
  15. ^ Guilfoil, John M. (2008-08-24). The Hollywood Charts, Aug. 24 Archived 2008-08-27 at the Wayback Machine. BlastMagazine.com. Retrieved 2010-11-27.
  16. ^ "The House Bunny Blu-ray". Blu-ray.com. Archived from the original on April 21, 2022. Retrieved April 20, 2022.
  17. ^ Carroll, Larry (June 24, 2008). "Katharine McPhee Goes Back To 'American Idol' Roots With 'House Bunny' Sing-Along". MTV News. Archived from the original on April 21, 2022. Retrieved April 20, 2022.

External links[edit]