Legally Blonde (Robert Luketic, 2001, USA)

  Legally Blonde is a 2001 comedy based on Amanda Brown’s 2001 novel of the same name. Clearly influenced by similar teen comedies like Clueless and Election (also starring Reese Witherspoon), Legally Blonde was a major success for MGM, launching Reese Witherspoon’s career and making her a household name. The film was a major success for MGM, grossing $141 million worldwide. The franchise launched a successful sequel and a musical. Supposedly a third film is currently in the works. It is easy to see why. The film is hard to hate. 

Legally Blonde at the level of story is really a textbook example of the Hollywood three-act structure. The film starts in the middle of the action - college student Elle Woods is preparing to receive an engagement ring from her boyfriend Warner Huntington. The inciting incident occurs when Warner reveals that he is not going to marry her, and that he wants someone more serious. Elle decides that in order to win Warner back, she is going to get into Harvard. She succeeds, and Act 2 proceeds from there.

Over the course of the film, she must face doubtful professors, Warner’s new girlfriend, and multiple challenges. There is also a subplot in which Elle gets involved in defending an accused murderer in court. The film makes good use of the idea of appearances. Elle is constantly judged for her appearance, and we see this theme play out multiple times. Luke Wilson as Emmett Richmond, appears to be a student at first to Elle, but is soon revealed to be a partner at a prestigious firm. Meanwhile a subplot involving a woman who works at Elle’s nail salon, played amusingly by Paulette Bonafonte, is also charming. Overall, Legally Blonde is innocuous fluff, but fluff that is not without its charms here and there.


6/10

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