Legally Blonde

Intermittently amusing and extremely familiar, Legally Blonde treads familiar ground on a reasonably funny premise (based on the book by Amanda Brown). There is just not enough material to keep the movie going in this Clueless goes to college story. Elle Woods (Reese Witherspoon, The Trumpet of the Swan, Little Nicky) is the quintessential ditzy blonde. She is in charge of her sorority, knows her hair care and clothes, and embodies nearly every blonde stereotype known to man. However, Elle is smarter than she appears. So when her boyfriend Warner Huntington III (Matthew Davis, Pearl Harbor, Urban Legends: Final Cut), aspiring law student and Senator, dumps her because she does not fit his idea of a wife, she decides to do what it takes to make him see she truly loves him.

This means joining him at Harvard Law School. Inexplicably, she makes it in, thanks to her studious tenacity and the college's attempts at diversity. At Harvard, she is the social outcast. Nobody will take her serious. Worse, Warner has a new snooty fiancee, Vivian Kensington (Selma Blair, Down to You, Cruel Intentions). This only strengthens Elles's resolve to succeed. As Elle implausibly rises higher, she begins to realize that she is enjoying Law School, and that Warner does not matter that much. Director Robert Luketic (Titsiana Booberini) sticks with this message for the duration of the movie. Elle, Warner, and Vivian all end up working on a case with one of their professors. They are defending Brooke Taylor (Ali Larter, Final Destination, House on Haunted Hill), a young woman accused of murdering her older husband. The only person looking out for Elle and encouraging her is Emmett (Luke Wilson, Charlie's Angels, Committed), an employee at the firm Elle is working at.

The story just runs out of steam partway through. So screenwriters Karen McCullah Lutz and Kirsten Smith (the same team who wrote 10 Things I Hate About You) throw in random storylines. One involving Jennifer Coolidge (Pootie Tang, Down to Earth) is particularly useless and not funny. There are only so many blonde jokes that they can poke fun of, and Lutz and Smith run the gamut. Legally Blonde is also not clever or witty enough to be memorable. All the jokes are of the bubblegum/popcorn variety. They are funny but almost instantly forgettable. It's up to Witherspoon to carry the movie in her very capable hands. She plays Elle with a sunny, ever-optimistic outlook on life, no matter what happens. Even when she is insulting somebody (which occurs rarely), she does it so happily and innocently. Elle is blissfully ignorant amidst a crowd of cynical law students. Unlike many of the jokes, Elle's personality never wears thin.

Haro Rates It: Okay.
1 hour, 36 minutes, Rated PG-13 for language and sexual references.

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