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Legally Blonde

Starring Reese Witherspoon, Luke Wilson, Selma Blair, Matthew Davis, Victor Garber, Jennifer Coolidge and Holland Taylor
Screenplay by Karen McCullah Lutz & Kirsten Smith
Based on the book by Amanda Brown
Directed by Robert Kuketic

IN SHORT: Clueless in Harvard Crimson. [Rated PG-13 for language and sexual references. 95 minutes]

The west coast is a land of painful pastels, where rich men have martini glasses grafted to their tanned hands and the women look fabulous in their spangled bikinis. As one of the young and gifted-with-dazzling-style, Elle Woods (Reese Witherspoon) concludes her senior year at California University at Los Angeles knowing that, in a matter of hours, she will be wearing the six carat Harry Winston stone that has been passed down from her grandmother-in-law to be to her husband-to-be, Warner Huntington III (Matthew Davis) and heading East. There, her hubby to be will enter Harvard Law School, the first step in his plan to become the fifth Senator in his family line -- and all by the time he turns thirty! What Elle doesn't understand is that Old Money (how old you ask? Warner's brother is named Putney Bowes Huntington III. You figure it out. It's quite beyond us) and New Money (Aaron Spelling lives across the street from the Woods' residence in Bel Air) are not meant to mix.

Determined to get her man, and his stone, back, Elle decides to follow Warner East. She takes her 4.0 GPA (in fashion), a pile of LSAT prep books and a video essay directed by an unspecified member of the Coppola family and manages to wow the admissions committee at Harvard Law. They, of course, are all middle-aged, balding white guys. Elle, equally of course, has delivered most of her video dressed in a teeny bikini (in one of the earliest and funniest moments of the film). Once in Cambridge, she discovered that her beloved has already made his own kind of endowment, his grandmother's ring to a childhood girlfriend, the right nasty Vivian Kensington (Selma Blair). Even with her dreams dashed, Elle sets out to make Harvard Law a more congenial place, not quite understanding that law school is a more nose to the grindstone deal than a place to party. One professor (Holland Taylor) humiliates the girl on Day One, sending her back to her dorm, and the company of her dressed-in-gear-to-match pooch, Bruiser.

Early on in the script one supporting character suggests that Elle drop a Percocet tablet to "take the edge off" (sic) the stress and depression and emotional pain. Since Cranky has been living on Percocet for the last dozen years (medical reasons -- kids don't try this at home), we can honestly report that, even "edge free" we were nearly hammered senseless by the nonstop cutesiness of the no-males-allowed-input of the original story and script. Legally Blonde features characters and plot twists about as two dimensional as any sitcom on a third rate cable network (or the UPN, whichever is smaller) and is saved solely by the fact that Reese Witherspoon works so damned hard to entertain. Just like her character works so damned hard to win her man back only to discover that he, not she, is the loser in the greater scheme of things.

Uh . . . we probably shouldn't have told you that. Then again, it isn't hard to figure out. Between the ditziness of the 99.95% blondes dressed in pink membership of the Delta Nu sorority, the shallowness of her ex and the nastiness of his new "pooh bear," there's little choice but to stretch out as best you can and accept that Legally Blonde is about as broad a farce (no pun intended) as you can get. The plot twists, which get dumber and dumber, are so incredibly ridiculous that if your hand isn't wrist deep in the gooey golden topping on the godzilla sized popcorn you should go out and get some.

The only sanity in the entire mess is provided by Luke Wilson, who appears as an older law student (though he's much more), the only person at Harvard to lend support to the California cutey who wouldn't know bland colored clothing if she were colorblind. Wilson doesn't have a lot to do until you get close to the end, but his scenes with Witherspoon help calm down the frenzy. He can't keep things calm for long but by the time the story goes completely out of control (and fashion sense wins the day!) the film is done.

On average, a first run movie ticket will run you Nine Bucks. Were Cranky able to set his own price to Legally Blonde, he would have paid . . .


dateflick. Get the really big popcorn.

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