Legally Blonde (12)

Review by Jack Foley


BILLED as a lightweight romantic comedy in the Clueless tradition, Legally Blonde poses the question of whether Reese Witherspoon's blonde High School queen can go to Harvard Law School and succeed in order to win back the heart of her beloved.

But whether you care enough to make the trip is another issue entirely as lightweight is an appropriate way to describe the supposedly `feelgood' proceedings.

Based on the book by Amanda Brown and featuring the directorial debut of Robert Luketic, Legally Blonde plays strictly to formula in every department, making it another lame misfire from the Hollywood production line.

While funny in places (and we're talking about the odd line), the main problem with Luketic's movie lies in its characterisation (or lack of it), so much so that the stupidity, or sheer brainlessness of its composition, makes for a pretty tedious 95 minutes; particularly if you are male.

Witherspoon, whose varied career so far includes American Psycho, Cruel Intentions and Best Laid Plans, stars as the blonde of the title; a super-popular student (and Miss June in the CULA campus calender) whose golden hair attributes belie a surprisingly intelligent mind. When she is unceremoniously dumped by her Harvard-bound boyfriend for not being a brunette, feisty Elle Woods sets about proving him wrong by becoming accepted at the prestigious law school and rising to the top of her class, gleefully fighting the prejudices of those she meets along the way.

So far, so corny. Oh, and Woods impresses her teachers so much that one assigns her as an assistant on a murder trial, while another (Luke Wilson's legal whizz) finds himself addicted to her aloof charms. In promoting the movie, director Luketic said he was attacted to stories "about people remaining true to who they really are" and while the sentiment may be admirable; the finished product is far different. This is no Erin Brockovich, far from it.

Witherspoon, while certainly investing a great deal of energy into her performance, is simply too irritating at times and way too pink (it is her signature colour). And while intelligent and even sensitive at others, we are asked to believe she could solve a murder trial based on her fashion and hair care knowledge alone.

Her friends, also, adhere to the `bimbo' image and while this screams chick flick from start to finish, it's hard to imagine that blondes won't feel at least a little insulted; while girls, in particular, will object to the gratuitous cleavage shots which are littered throughout.

Younger audiences will, no doubt, find some charm in the movie, but, on the whole, the pink-fixated proceedings left me feeling decidedly blue.