Monday, December 21, 2015

Movie #341: Legally Blonde

Legally Blonde is a comedy starring Reese Witherspoon, Luke Wilson, Victor Garber, Jennifer Coolidge, Ali Larter, Matthew Davis, and Selma Blair.

Elle Woods (Witherspoon) is a fashion major in LA, getting ready to (she thinks) accept a proposal from her longtime boyfriend, Hunter (Davis). Instead, he dumps her, stating that since he's going to Harvard Law and intends to become a senator, he needs to be serious and marry someone serious. Elle, crushed, decides to apply to Harvard and go to law school long enough to win him back, then (presumably) come home.

She gets in because the room full of old white men find her jiggalicious, but also because she gets a good score on her LSAT. Elle, it seems, is actually extremely intelligent, but she's grown up rich and privileged, and chosen a field that she loves but that doesn't ask much of her intellectually. She's LA-sheltered, extremely naive, but ultimately kind and big-hearted. This, of course, proves to be her salvation.

She heads to Harvard and is immediately overwhelmed by being asked to do work that challenges her for the first time in ever, but she buckles down when Hunter doesn't immediately take her back. She runs afoul of Hunter's new fiancee Vivian (Blair), but continues to make good impressions by being charming and pleasant, as well as clever in the right circumstances. This all culminates when she's chosen to intern with a prestigious law prof (Garber), who ultimately just wants to bang her, but she winds up defending a former sorority sister accused (Larter) accused of murder.

So, the movie is over the top and silly, but that's fine. We get a great performance from Witherspoon, who takes a character who could be really grating and makes her likable. It's not that Elle is flawless; she's privileged and clueless a lot of the time, but she learns. She's driven when she wants to be, and she has an actual character arc as she goes from being focused on winning back her man to realizing that she's capable of doing some good for the world.

Sure, the good she does is to defend another rich woman who only refuses to save herself by revealing where she was when her husband was shot because she was getting liposuction, but she does successfully defend an innocent woman. Oh, and she helps her manicurist (Coolidge) get her dog back from her jackass ex-husband, so that's nice. It would have been good to see Elle have some kind of moment of awakening where she realizes how amazingly lucky she is to have grown up with the comfort that she did, but I dunno. That might be a little out of the scope of this movie (maybe in the sequel, which I haven't seen).

My grade: B+
Rewatch value: Medium-high

Next up: Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga'hoole