3 out of 5 stars (Average)
It’s funny how we look at movies differently depending on our ages. Most Disney classics remain that because they have loads of adult humor that fly over our heads as children, but make us laugh hysterically as adults. Thank you Disney animators for all the in-jokes, adult puns, and raunchy humor that would leave us in tears of joy later.
That can be said for almost any movie, Disney or not. There are several PG-13 comedies that I watched at a younger age and didn’t understand the humor in. Only after watching them in my later years did I understand why they were so funny (or not, depending on the movie).
This was the case for Legally Blonde 2: Red, White, and Blonde, a Reese Witherspoon comedy in which she attempts to change animal testing laws so that the mother of her Chihuahua can attend her wedding (Yes, it’s stupid, but it was the early 2000s, and we all remember THOSE). I saw that film several times as a tween and didn’t think it was as funny as I do now. I’m not saying that the film is a comedy gem, but it’s good, unchallenging entertainment for a Saturday afternoon.
After some time, I realized that I had not seen the first Legally Blonde yet. If this was the sequel, then something must have come before it to warrant said sequel’s existence. After months of searching through the TV channels, I finally recorded the film, and I am happy to say that it is funnier, better structured, and more meaningful (in certain ways) than the sequel.
For those who haven’t seen it, the movie follows sorority girl Elle Woods (Reese Witherspoon in her star-making and most recognized role), a woman whose main goal in life is to marry her boyfriend Warren (Matthew Davis, most known for his stint on The Vampire Diaries). With best friends Margot and Serena by her side, Elle’s life couldn’t get any better for a blonde in Beverly Hills.
Unfortunately, Elle’s perfect world comes crashing down when Warren unceremoniously dumps her because she’s “too blonde” for him. After a brief depression, Elle decides to “woman up” and enroll in Harvard Law School to steal her man back from his new fiancé, Vivian (Selma Blair, perfect casting). While at Harvard, she gets the help of nice guy Emmett (Luke Wilson) and makes friends with local girl Paulette (Jennifer Coolidge), learning some things about herself in the process.
I laugh whenever I watch this movie. The casting is spot-on, with Witherspoon making Elle sympathetic instead of annoying. She has done much better movies in the course of her career, but Reese Witherspoon owes this film for launching that. Luke Wilson, also brings a certain charm to his role and works perfectly off of her. Matthew Davis absolutely nails his snobbish role, and Selma Blair is perfect.
The music, while dated, fits the tone of the movie perfectly, made up primarily of feel-good pop and female-empowerment tunes that make the audience feel good. The score is nothing to ride home about, but it works with the movie.
The pacing is fast, never lingering on anything more than is necessary. Pacing is important to me because it determines how much the film engages me. For example, if you have a 90 minute comedy, then the pacing needs to be relatively quick. However, if you have a 2 hour thriller, then the pacing can be a bit slower to build up suspense. It’s all about entertaining the viewer, and this movie does that well.
I also like Elle’s arc. In the beginning, she is a ditzy blonde, but she transforms into a smart law student who uses her knowledge to her advantage in ways she never thought about before. Witherspoon just overplays the ditzy part a little bit, but it is forgivable because of the character’s likability. She (the actress) has maintained that likability throughout her career, and it’s one of the reasons her career has lasted this long.
I don’t technically have any problems with Legally Blonde. It’s light, funny, and has a subtlety-placed message about being the best you can be despite the odds against you. I think it’s a great movie for girls to watch who need to be reminded that being the best they can be is the best way to be.
Rated PG-13 for Sexual References and Language