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Legally Blonde

movie reviewmovie reviewmovie review out of 4 Movie Review: Legally Blonde

Starring: Reese Witherspoon, Selma Blair
Director: Robert Luketic
Rated: PG-13
RunTime: 95 Minutes
Release Date: July 2001
Genre: Comedy

*Also starring: Ali Larter, Luke Wilson, Holland Taylor, Matthew Davis, Linda Cardellini, Victor Garber, Alanna Ubach, Oz Perkins, Jennifer Coolidge

Review by MrBrown
3 stars out of 4

With its premise of a pampered, ditzy girly-girl somehow making her way into Harvard Law, _Legally_Blonde_ has been dismissed as "_Clueless_ goes to law school." Actually, the film is more than that.

It's _Clueless_ meets _Felicity_ goes to law school.

In all seriousness, though, _Legally_Blonde_ is able to transcend its unpromising origins due to two words: Reese Witherspoon. While the film goes through its unsurprising paces from start to finish, Witherspoon keeps the proceedings so perkily likable that one will be too busy smiling to complain.

Director Robert Luketic isn't nearly as ambitious as Alexander Payne, who used Witherspoon to such dazzling comic effect in her best film, _Election_; whereas Payne mined her perkiness for subtly sinister satire, Luketic simply uses it for the easy lightweight laugh. That's just as well, for screenwriters Karen McCullah Lutz and Kirsten Smith clearly aim low. Witherspoon's Elle Woods is a very rich, very blonde, very _Clueless_ sorority girl about to graduate with a degree in fashion marketing. When her ambitious beau Warner Huntington III (Matthew Davis) dumps her instead of popping the question before heading off to Harvard Law, Elle makes like the WB's Felicity Porter and works her butt off to gain entrance to the same school. Needless to say, flamboyant Elle is like the proverbial fish out of water in the stuffy Ivy Leagues, but don't underestimate the power of blond ambition.

Even with such modest goals, Luketic and the writers don't quite hit every mark. The climax brings to mind Marisa Tomei's classic testimony in _My_Cousin_Vinny_ but quite pales in comparison since _Legally_Blonde_'s take is rather abrupt, not to mention the film's central trial plot leaves a lot to be desired. But hitting every required mark and many in-between is Witherspoon. Not only is she a superb verbal and physical comedienne with precise timing, she pulls off the critical task of making Elle ditzy in personality, not in nature. When Elle inevitably starts to prove her naysayers wrong, it's completely believable--even if the surrounding circumstances are less so.

_Legally_Blonde_ may get a bit heavy-handed and obvious in its conveying its trite "Believe in yourself" and "Don't judge a book by its cover" morals, but Witherspoon's finesse with the funny makes everything else go down fairly easily.

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