Legally Blonde

"Grim"

Legally Blonde Review


Shallow SoCal sorority bimbo Elle Woods is supposed to be, like, totally smarter than she looks in "Legally Blonde," a paint-by-numbers big screen sitcom about a ditzy coed who follows her snooty, upper-crust ex to Harvard Law to prove herself worthy and win him back.

But while Elle is played with irresistibly bouncy ebullience by the wonderfully daft Reese Witherspoon ("Election," "Freeway"), the movie never provides any evidence of her supposed smarts. She just gets lucky a lot, like when her knowledge of hair care helps save an innocent murder defendant in a big case she has no business handling as an intern at a big law firm.

Such simplistic, ain't-it-wacky solutions to life's dilemmas are the driving force of this pastel colored picture that is funny from time to time, but is also weighed down with trite "have faith in yourself" messages, as if it's some kind of after school special.

Screenwriters Karen McCullah Lutz and Kirsten Smith ("10 Things I Hate About You") ply "Blonde" with such transparent plot devices that five minutes after the opening credits the entire story arc is laid out before you like a road map drawn in crayon.

Petty hunk and aspiring politician Warner (Matthew Davis) dumps Elle in the first reel, just before departing for Harvard, declaring "If I'm gonna be a senator by the time I'm 30...I need to marry a Jackie, not a Marilyn."

Too vapid to see him for the loser he is, fashion merchandising major Elle applies to Harvard Law School herself, making an impression on the old boy network admissions board with her 4.0 GPA and a video essay that makes them drool -- Elle argues her qualifications from a hot tub wearing a sequined bikini.

Next thing you know, she's standing out on the buttoned-down campus in her inexplicably retro, "Dynasty" cast-offs wardrobe. She's also in over her head taking heavy-duty year-one classes while competing for Warner's affections with a condescending blue-blooded preppie brunette (histrionically pouty Selma Blair).

Can the plain but sweetly genuine guy that will make her forget Warner be far behind? Of course not. He's played by the charmingly awkward and always understated Luke Wilson (the bartender in "Charlie's Angels").

"Legally Blonde" fancies itself something of a collegiate "Clueless," but it hasn't the wit and creativity of that hilarious and spot-on caricature of '90s teen culture. That's not to say it doesn't have its moments. Liberally scattered among the movies steady supply of hackneyed conventions are genuinely funny japes and site gags, like when on the first day of school all her classmates open up their laptops to take notes on a lecture, Elle pulls out a pencil and a heart-shaped pad of paper. (Later she buys -- what else? -- an orange iBook.)

First time director-for-hire Robert Luketic does what he can to free the joviality of the story from the sloppy, predictable, pedestrian script (although it's all too obvious he hurried up the plot in editing). Witherspoon is such a gifted comedienne she can milk even the most superficial moments for a giggle or two. Between them they shore up many of the comedy's weaknesses.

But once Elle lands her law firm internship about half way through the movie, "Legally Blonde" leaves campus for the courtroom and becomes a highly telegraphed eye-rolling affair that does nothing to prove Elle's alleged brainpower at all. In fact it does just the opposite, falling back on her superficiality to resolve the plot.



Legally Blonde

Facts and Figures

Run time: 96 mins

In Theaters: Friday 13th July 2001

Production compaines: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM), Marc Platt Productions

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 2 / 5

IMDB: 6.2 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Starring: as Elle Woods, as Emmett Richmond, as Vivian Kensington, as Warner Huntington III, as Professor Callahan, Lacey Beeman as Nervous 1L Girl, as Paulette, as Professor Stromwell, as Brooke Taylor Windham, as Margot, as Serena, as Dorky David Kidney, as Chutney, as UPS Guy, as Enid, as Mrs. Windham Vandermark, as Enrique


Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

45 Years Movie Review

45 Years Movie Review

Like an antidote to vacuous blockbusters, this intelligent, thoughtful drama packs more intensity into a...

Straight Outta Compton Movie Review

Straight Outta Compton Movie Review

This biopic gallops through the career of groundbreaking gangsta rappers N.W.A, working its way through...

We Are Your Friends Movie Review

We Are Your Friends Movie Review

Basically the perfect summer movie, this lightweight drama has a great-looking cast and plenty of...

Sinister 2 Movie Review

Sinister 2 Movie Review

As the ghoul from the 2012 horror hit stalks a new family, this sequel's sharply...

Advertisement
Paper Towns Movie Review

Paper Towns Movie Review

After setting the scene with vivid characters and some insightful interaction, the plot of this...

Vacation Movie Review

Vacation Movie Review

Both the characters and the tone have been updated as a new generation of Grizwolds...

Trainwreck Movie Review

Trainwreck Movie Review

Amy Schumer makes her big screen debut with a script that feels like a much-extended...

The Man From U.N.C.L.E. Movie Review

The Man From U.N.C.L.E. Movie Review

Adopting a deliciously groovy vibe, Guy Ritchie turns the iconic 1960s TV spy series into...

Advertisement