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.