The House Bunny
Starring Anna Faris, Colin Hanks. Directed by Fred Wolf. Released by Sony $29.96 (Blu-ray $39.95) *** 1/2
Baltimore's own Anna Faris is funny, beguiling and sexy in The House Bunny (in stores Friday), as a former Playboy Playmate exiled from the mansion for being too old - she's 27, which is 59 in bunny years. With nowhere else to go, she moves into a campus sorority house run by the hapless Zetas and finds her talents welcome in ways she never thought possible (relax, it's rated PG-13, so stash all those unduly salacious thoughts elsewhere). It's time for those Zetas to get some respect!
Faris, previously best known as the only valid reason to watch Scary Movie and its sequels, is a scream as Shelley Darlingson, and watching her put her playmate experience to use in the real world is a stitch. Sure, there's more than a little bit of Legally Blonde in here - Karen McCullah Lutz worked on the screenplays of both films - but Faris more than makes the material her own.
Interesting supporting cast, too, including Colin Hanks, Rumer Willis (daughter of Bruce and Demi), Beverly D'Angelo and American Idol's Katharine McPhee. Even Hugh Hefner shows up (and he liked the movie so much, he put Faris - fully clothed - in his magazine).
Also this week:: Golden Globe nominee Meryl Streep heads an Abba lovefest in Mamma Mia! (Universal, $29.98, Blu-ray $39.98). With Pierce Brosnan, Colin Firth, Christine Baranski, Amanda Seyfried, Stellan Skarsgard, Julie Walters and just about every other available actor willing to don a tuxedo or wedding dress and sing an Abba song. A two-disc special edition ($34.98) includes music videos, deleted scenes, an extra musical number and commentary from director Phyllida Lloyd.
Other releases:: Welcome back those fabulous Bradley girls, Betty Jo, Billie Jo and Bobby Jo, in Petticoat Junction - The Official First Season (Paramount, $44.95); Ariel, the only Disney princess with fins, is back in The Little Mermaid II: Return to the Sea (Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment, $29.99); The Wire's David Simon and Ed Burns take on the war in Iraq in Generation Kill (HBO, $59.99).