ninth symphony films - movie reviews

LEGALLY BLONDE (2001)


DIRECTOR  -  robert luketic

RATED  -  pg-13

GENRE  -  comedy

LENGTH  -  96 minutes

RELEASED  -  13 july 2001

DISTRIBUTOR  -  mgm

OFFICIAL SITE  -  legally blonde

ESTIMATED BUDGET  -  $18,000,000
legally blonde - a shot from the film

BUY THE DVD:

buy the dvd from legally blonde at amazon.com

buy the dvd from legally blonde at amazon.com


SYNOPSIS:
when a blonde sorority queen is dumped by her boyfriend, she decides to follow him to law school to get him back and, once there, learns she has more legal savvy than she ever imagined.




MOVIE FACT:
reese witherspoon's character wears forty different hairstyles during the film.


MOVIE FOTOS:

picture from legally blonde

picture from legally blonde

picture from legally blonde



RATING:


three out of four possible stars

Although this film has a script that doesn't set it apart from its predecessors like Clueless, it thankfully has the radiant presence of Reese Witherspoon to hold the film up. Legally Blonde has all the usual elements of a teenie-bopper flick and reese's performance is comparable to Alicia Silverstone in Clueless or Larisa Oleynik in 10 Things I Hate About You (which, interestingly, have the same writers). But Reese's performance has something more. She's really the film's "tent-pole" in that without her performance, the film would just be another teen flick like Road Trip or (heaven forbid!) Can't Hardly Wait.

Here's the basic plot: when a blonde sorority queen is dumped by her boyfriend, she decides to follow him to law school to get him back and, once there, learns she has more legal savvy than she ever imagined. (taken from the IMDB) What's fun about this movie though is that it tries to go beyond the traditional teen flick with its location and selection of characters. It's like the filmmakers took a teen movie to college and tried to dress it up a little. Of course, that doesn't mean that all the other elements of the film did not come from a cookie cutter formula.

You've got the cute star that's in trouble, and needs to use the ingenuity she never knew she had to get out of her predicament (Reese Witherspoon). You've got the dreamy boyfriend who isn't all he's cracked up to be (named "Warner," played by Matthew Davis), the guy the heroine really should be after ("Emmett" played by Luke Wilson), and the jealous girlfriend ("Vivian" played by Selma Blair) . . . each element necessary for a teen flick. But even though I knew I'd seen this situation before (teen girl must get teen guy back), the fun approach taken to the whole "blonde and dumb" idea made me not care that the film was pretty shallow in spots and mostly filled with fluff. Because that fluff was fun.

And Legally Blonde doesn't apologize for it's fluff. It revels in it. There's nothing worse than a teen flick that tries to take itself too seriously while trying to keep in the whole "teens are funny so we must put them in movies" idea. (like the worst movie of 1998: Can't Hardly Wait) This film's refusal to verge into the There's Something About Mary (i.e.: stupid comedy) was a plus as well. The film quite possibly could have gone off the deep end with the kind of humor only 5 year old boys laugh at, but it tries to stay away from that, presenting the audience with, instead, a fun time at the movies.

And that's really what's kind of appealing about this film. You can see it and not expect to get a heavy-handed dose about some moralistic nonsense that the director feels you need to learn. And you don't get bored with juvenile humor and toilet gags like in an Eddie Murphy film. It's just a feel good movie with a kind message and a fun delivery. The message, by the way is "be yourself." Of course, if you think about it too much, it starts feeling like an ABC after-school special. Remember those "when teens are in trouble: the lame story" flicks that were lame even when you were the right age to watch them.

Like 10 years old? Legally Blonde gives you a wee dose of "you can do it" without drowning you in the message. That's not to say the message isn't pretty clear. And in one of my only criticisms on the film, I would have to say that the ending went on just a little bit too long. Right before the credits, when all the students are graduating, the camera takes several shots of the main characters in the movie and puts a few words up on the screen about the outcome for that character. And this is fine. But after you get four or five of these little post-scripts, the film goes on for about another 30 seconds showing the audience a bunch of shots of the students, the faculty, and Reese.

It's like the movie was stretched just a few minutes too long. That's not to say that the scene shouldn't be in the movie, it is after all, the ending, but there's just so much the audience needs of all the characters smiling blissfully in their success (or failure, as with the boyfriend). But all in all, this is a small complaint. In my only other complaint on the film, I'd have to say that even with the film's ability to look seriousness in the face and laugh at it, I felt that sometimes the humor was sometimes one-dimensional and not unique enough to set the film apart from other cookie-cutter flicks. The film almost denies itself that fun attitude by trying to be two things at once: a movie that's more than a teen flick, but also a movie that's an exact replica of a teen flick.

Most of this paradox is on the back burner for me though, because I was just heartily impressed with Reese Witherspoon's performance. She plays a very endearing character whose attempts to help the people around her make her infinitely likeable. And the ensemble cast that joins her also gives the film a warm and fuzzy feeling. Which is all I really expected from the flick. In an interesting marketing ploy, the advertisers for this film partnered with a major hair salon chain to give out free blonde dye jobs about a week before the movie came out.

This is a clear example that the filmmakers actually celebrate the art of being a blonde, rather than insulting it, like in most films. This was a fun change. Even though I'm not blonde, I still think it was a fun way of looking at the whole blonde stereotype. This film is definitely a fun time at the movies and is the flick to see if you want to take a break from the daily grind, but don't want to be inundated with fart jokes.

Review by Kelsey Wyatt.


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