Legally Blonde

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6 out of 10

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Stereotypical 'Blonde' - perky, fun, and less than brilliant. The film sabotages its own 'moral' if you think about it. Don't. Rating: 6 out of 10.

Elle Woods (Reese Witherspoon), a California girl with many of the same characteristics as the character Cher in Clueless, has just graduated from college with a degree in something to do with fashion. Her boyfriend is headed for Harvard Law School, and dumps her because he wants someone more "serious" (you know--less blonde and ditzy). She makes up her mind to get into Harvard Law herself, and turns out not to be as flaky as she may appear. That's a short summary, but surprisingly complete when I think about it. The plot doesn't go too much beyond the simple (and far from earth-shatteringly original) premise.

I didn't expect much going in, I guess, since this was the first feature-length film from Robert Luketic, whose only prior directing credit listed on IMDB is a short film called Titsiana Booberini. Someone obviously has a hangup--more on that in a moment.

So anyway, I wasn't expecting Oscar material, and I didn't find any, but the movie was fun. I chuckled often and didn't really ever cringe the way I have at many of the recent gross-fest comedies. On the other hand, I probably didn't laugh as hard as I have at more cutting edge stuff, but so be it. The movie moves well. The cast looks great and makes the characters fairly engaging. The script doesn't strain itself reaching for jokes that aren't there. Aspiring comedy directors should watch this one closely: a great example of a fun, silly comedy that seems comfortable with itself and does not resort to the cheap and nasty to get laughs.

If I let myself think about the movie on a serious level, there's some congnitive dissonance. Elle laments that all men see in her is "blonde hair and boobs"--after she has spent a good portion of the movie using that hair and those boobs to get where she wants to be (true, she couldn't do it without her brains also, but scenes like the one with the admissions board watching her video imply that the sex appeal is the real ticket). You can't have it both ways. But I don't think anyone's going for social commentary here. And once you've seen the movie, I think you'll agree that the mastermind behind this and "Titsiana Booberini" is very definitely breast-obsessed.

That point aside, the message here is an obvious and benign one: don't judge by appearances. Well, with the movie itself you can. If you're expecting a profound emotional or intellectual experience, look elsewhere. If you want a bright, peppy film that's easy on the eyes and mind, this Blonde is for you.

Year: 2001
Director: Robert Luketic
Running time: 96 minutes
Rated PG-13 for language and sexual references.

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Review copyright 2003 by Toby Baldwin

Originally written August 3, 2001

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