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Legally Blonde Movie Review

Movie Review by Anthony Leong © Copyright 2001


Legally Blonde artwork

It is often said that 'blondes have more fun', which is the case with "Legally Blonde", a cute comedy where a "Clueless" coed goes to law school. The blonde in question is Elle Woods (Reese Witherspoon of "Election"), who is on the verge of entering the working world, having majored in fashion, been president of her sorority, and most importantly of all, appeared in a music video with Ricky Martin. Unfortunately, Elle's seemingly perfect life is thrown asunder when she is dumped by her Harvard Law School-bound boyfriend Warner Huntington III (Matthew Davis of "Pearl Harbor"), who feels the need to 'trade-up' to someone more ritzy and less ditzy (moving from a 'Marilyn' to a 'Jackie', as Warner puts it).

Jessica Cauffiel, Reese Witherspoon, and Alanna Ubach

Determined to prove her worthiness and win Warner back, Elle follows her ex- to Harvard Law School. Thanks to some surprisingly high LSAT scores and an unconventional admission essay, Elle joins the school as a freshman where she immediately becomes the object of scorn by her more learned and snobbish fellow students, particularly Warner's new girlfriend Vivian (Selma Blair of "Down to You"). Fortunately, Elle is taken under the wing by one of her professors (Victor Garber of "Titanic") and is provided the opportunity to prove her mettle in a case involving a celebrity weight-loss guru (Ali Larter of "Final Destination") accused of murdering her husband. Elle also finds support from an older student named Emmett (Luke Wilson of "Charlie's Angels") who, unlike the others, sees her untapped genius.

Matthew Davis

Though the "Erin Brockovich" by way of "Clueless" script doesn't always hit the mark (in fact, the proceedings get increasingly ludicrous and predictable as the film unspools), "Legally Blonde" still offers enough witty banter and charming moments to ensure fairly regular laughs and leave you with an ever-present 'silly grin'. The main reason why this film works is the star wattage of Witherspoon, who effortlessly exudes charisma, brilliance, and panache with her sarcastic yet sympathetic portrayal of a 'dumb blonde' whose intelligence is a tad unconventional. If you have been following this gifted young actress' career and enjoyed her work in films such as "Pleasantville", "Election", and "Freeway", then you won't be disappointed by the gusto she displays here.

Shannon O'Hurley, Victor Garber, Luke Wilson, and Witherspoon

In comparison to the luminosity of the lead actress, the rest of the cast is serviceable. Davis and Wilson, as Elle's competing love interests, come across as bland as the script gives them little to do. On the other hand, Blair, who starred alongside Witherspoon in "Cruel Intentions", convincingly handles her character's change-of-heart with respect to Elle, while Jennifer Coolidge ("Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me") acquits herself quite nicely as a down-on-her-luck manicurist whom Elle befriends.

So far, "Legally Blonde" has defied the expectations of both box office pundits and MGM Studios with its opening weekend number one finish, beating out the heavily-favored sci-fi extravaganza "Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within". Though the film is clearly targeted squarely at the 'tween female' demographic, with Witherspoon's wonderfully satiric performance and a few memorable moments, this likable comedy will probably end up defying your expectations too.

Images courtesy of MGM Pictures. All rights reserved.


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