Saturday, August 16, 2008

A Certain Horrible Thing

Not long ago, I witnessed a trailer for a movie that was so odious it caused my body to erupt in paroxysms of revulsion. I consider myself a man tolerant of Hollywood's dreck, inasmuch as I accept its existence and don't allow it to bother me.

But this:

This it too much.

Besides being sexist (though I'm sure that along with the hilarity that no doubt ensues, lessons are learned), The House Bunny represents everything wrong with Movie College.

Movie College bears a striking similarity to Movie High School, though there are marked differences. This being the movies, neither resembles their real-life counterparts, and any movies that do bear a resemblance (i.e Noah Baumbach's Kicking and Screaming and Freaks and Geeks(Yeah I know it's a TV series, but whatevs)) can't be said to exist in Movie College or Movie High School.

Movie High School is slightly surreal and absurd almost to excess. The division of the cliques; whether by lunchroom table seating as in Mean Girls, first day arbitrary designation as in Bratz: The Movie, or the character's themselves being symbols as in the Breakfast Club, serves to remind us of the absurdity of those cliques. Movie High School pokes gentle fun.

Movie College bears more resemblance to Movie High School than it does actual college. Instead of cliques we have fraternities and sororities. Movie College preserves the social hierarchy of Movie High School (and perhaps actual high school) and amps up the meanness. College, being a place of higher learning, where scholarship is paramount, certainly doesn't seem like the place where intelligence would be scoffed at. Yet this seems de rigueur in movie college. The thing these movies forget is that the social life in college is opt in. One can choose to associate with their circle of friends and not be active in any kind of campus hierarchy.

In The House Bunny, our heroine is cast out of the Bunny Mansion and the decrepit embrace of Hugh Hefner and into the cruel world. She becomes the house mother of a sorority of outcast girls, who see to all be wearing glasses which is, of course, movie shorthand for nerdy and undesirable. One of these girls is played by the object of desire in Superbad. The sexism is implicit in the denial of these girls as attractive, it is explicit in the idea that The titular House Bunny is supposed to represent some kind of feminine ideal.

Of course the House Bunny is going to teach these girls that by taking off the glasses and wearing high heels will make them attractive. Of course she will realize that she doesn't always need to act dumb, especially to attract the guy who likes her for herself. Of course they will win the annual sorority house competition and show the mean sorority that they too are legitimate people. There's no subversion. Normally this would just be bad movies as usual, but the extra layer of sexism and tiresome stereotypes make this more than just a bad movie.


Blogger Volker The Fiddler said...

Wow. That was a brilliant piece of essay. Wow. Even I almost don't want to see it.

7:58 PM  
Blogger John D. Moore said...


I'm actually eagerly awaiting the release of the movie. Once it's released, I won't have to worry about seeing its trailer yet again.

11:05 AM  
Blogger Zijjo said...

Looks like you hate Sydney White 2. But srsly, it will probably try to justify itself by the playhouse bunny learning something valuable

4:28 PM  
Blogger Volker The Fiddler said...

OMG!!!!!!!!! There's going to be a Sydney White 2?

12:12 PM  

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