Legally Blonde (2001)

Genres - Comedy  |   Sub-Genres - Comedy of Manners, Courtroom Comedy, Romantic Comedy  |   Release Date - Jul 13, 2001 (USA)  |   Run Time - 96 min.  |   Countries - United States   |   MPAA Rating - PG13
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Review by Michael Hastings

Reese Witherspoon adds yet another plucky striver character to her resume with this mostly successful attempt to merge the superlative teen film Clueless (1995) with the fish-out-of-water courtroom farce My Cousin Vinny (1992). Legally Blonde has all the right elements for light entertainment: appropriately overzealous production design, an unflappable heroine played to giddy perfection, and a supporting cast that stays just south of over-the-top. And yet the comedy doesn't quite sing, in large part due to first-time feature director Robert Luketic's ineptitude with staging and shooting. For a movie obsessed with image, Blonde is poorly lit and clumsily framed: Luketic's deference to close-ups all but robs the film of Witherspoon's talent for physical comedy, and an extemporaneous, mid-film musical number fails to register. Still, as a showcase for its ebullient, never-condescending lead performer, Blonde shines, even if its young director doesn't show the same promise as his star.