Legally Blonde

Legally Blonde


Reviewed by: Angus Wolfe Murray

This is exactly what the world needs right now, an uplifting, self-assertive comedy that reaffirms the human qualities that made America great.

"You must always have faith in people," Elle Woods tells her fellow graduates at Harvard Law School "And you must always have faith in yourself."

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Not that it's preachy, or sanctimonious. Elle would never be that. She's a Californian girl, straight out of Clueless, whose natural optimism comes tailored in mall chic, an aficionado of drop-by shopping and the Cosmo appeal, bouncy, bubbly and more beautiful than Barbie. What makes her unique and unspoilt is her generous nature. She is the opposite of pretentious, resolutely and outrageously herself.

When her socially acceptable boyfriend ("We have five generations of senators in the family") dumps her, because he has to think of his career ("I need a Jackie, not a Marilyn"), she locks herself in her room for a week with boxes of chocolates, weeping buckets and watching soaps.

She snaps out of it, recovers her positive spirit and decides that if he's going to Harvard Law School, she'll follow. Considering that her only qualifications are a major in fashion merchandising, president of her university sorority, a runner-up for Miss Hawaiian Tropic and Miss June in the campus calendar, she has a lot to catch up if she's going to win over the admission panel.

Of course, she gets there and, of course, the preppy students are snobbish, bitchy and dismissive. Does she care? Wouldn't you? Instead of conforming, she flaunts her West Coast style, because that's who she is and she can't fake it.

"Whoever said orange is the new pink was seriously disturbed," she says, as if it matters, which it does, to her, and, ultimately, to all of you.

Reese Witherspoon is irresistibly wonderful. She takes Elle's unfettered optimism, so easily mocked by the intellectually opinionated elite, and discovers within it a heart of gold. It would seem impossible to do this without drowning in sentiment, or exaggerating a delight in Beverly Hills excess. She delights, but does not drown.

The script by Karen McCullah Lutz and Kirsten Smith, who transformed The Taming Of The Shrew into 10 Things I Hate About You with such elan, is smart and sassy. The Australian director, Robert Luketic, makes his film debut. Not only does this show courage on behalf of the producers, but it pays dividends. A fresh eye on a fresh lady is the best antidote to the bad news blues.

Reviewed on: 25 Oct 2001
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A sassy rich girl from LA gets into Harvard Law School to win back the boyfriend who dumped her.
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Director: Robert Luketic

Writer: Karen McCullah Lutz, Kirsten Smith, based on the book by Amanda Brown

Starring: Reese Witherspoon, Luke Wilson, Selma Blair, Matthew Davis, Victor Garber, Jennifer Coolidge, Holland Taylor, Ali Larter, Raquel Welch, Allyce Beasley

Year: 2001

Runtime: 96 minutes

BBFC: 12 - Age Restricted

Country: US


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