Movie Mom

Movie Mom


Legally Blonde

posted by rkumar
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for language and sexual references
Profanity:Some crude language
Nudity/Sex:Sexual references, some very vulgar
Alcohol/Drugs:Drinking
Violence/Scariness:None
Diversity Issues:A theme of the movie
Movie Release Date:2001

It’s been too long since the last courtroom comedy. This one might not reach the heights of the sublime “My Cousin Vinny`” but it comes pretty close.

Reese Witherspoon plays Elle Woods, an adorable Southern California sorority girl who is about to graduate with a major in fashion marketing. Her life seems as pink and perfect as her nails. Her biggest challenge is what to wear for what she thinks will be a marriage proposal from her beau, Warner Huntington III (Matthew Davis). But he has another idea. He has decided to break up with her before he leaves for Harvard Law School, because she is not smart enough to be of help to him in his political career. If he wants to be a Senator by age 30, he needs a wife who will look right in a campaign brochure. He tells her, “I need a Jackie, not a Marilyn.”

She decides that the only way to get him back is to join him at Harvard. So, she studies hard, aces the LSATs, and, with the help of a videotaped application essay, showing her explaining her qualifications as she soaks in a Jacuzzi, she is admitted.

Her new classmates are skeptical (one calls out, “Look! Malibu Barbie lives!”). They can’t see beyond her feather-topped pens and pink, scented resume. Worst of all, Warner is engaged to a girl who looks like an ad for “Town and Country” (the upper crust magazine, not the awful movie). They won’t let her study with them and they play a cruel joke on her. But Elle surprises them all — and even herself — by becoming a first class law student and a first class lawyer while staying true to herself. She ends up defending a murder suspect with whom she has a special rapport and conducting a cross-examination that would impress Perry Mason.

Reese Witherspoon is a treasure. She makes Elle completely believable as a delectable California girl with spirit and brains even she did not realize. Witherspoon and the art direction (even the credits have i’s dotted with hearts) keep things bubbly even when the script falters into predictability or vulgarity. Luke Wilson as a young lawyer and Holland Taylor as an acerbic professor add some nice moments. And it is fun to see Raquel Welch in a cameo as a wealthy divorcée.

Parents should know that the movie is rated PG-13 for about five to ten minutes of crude humor, including jokes about stereotypes of gays. There is brief bad language. Elle may be blonde and bubbly, but she is far from ditsy. She works hard, uses her very fine brain, and conducts herself with integrity and dignity. Elle gives another woman advice about how to show off her body favorably to get a man’s attention, but when her boss makes a pass at her, she makes it very clear that his behavior is unacceptable.

Families who see this movie should talk about why Elle did not have higher aspirations for herself, and the role her parents played in shaping the way she thought about her future. They might also want to talk about Elle’s choice to keep her client’s secret, even when it put her defense at risk, and about the mistakes people make when they judge other people based on appearances. What made Elle succeed when more experienced lawyers did not? What did the way Elle responded to the practical joke show us about her?

Families who enjoy this movie will also enjoy “My Cousin Vinny” (rated R for language).



  • Susan

    Hi Nell,
    My family is going to visit Boston this summer and I thought it would be fun to watch Legally Blonde before we visit Harvard. I was surprised to see that it was rated “Mature High Schooler”. Is that correct? Based on my memory and your “Parents Should Know”, it doesn’t seem right. My son is 12.
    Thank you!
    Susan

Previous Posts

The Other Woman
The latest in a female-centered revenge comedy genre that extends from "9 to 5" through "She-Devil," "The Other Woman" is intended to be a merry little tale of female empowerment and grrrl power.  Instead it is soggy, haphazard, poorly paced slapstick mansplained by director Nick Cassavetes from a

posted 6:00:59pm Apr. 24, 2014 | read full post »

Finding Vivian Maier
Vivian Maier was a Chicago-area nanny.  Only the children in her care knew how much she loved taking pictures.  After her death, the possessions she had in storage were auctioned off and a man named John Maloof bought some boxes of negatives, thinking he might finds some images for his research ab

posted 6:00:24pm Apr. 24, 2014 | read full post »

Walking With the Enemy
Why do we keep making movies about the Holocaust? Because we are still trying to understand one of the most shocking, inhumane tragedies in history. Because it is the essence of heightened, dramatic storylines, with the most depraved real-life villains, the bravest heroes, and the direst moral di

posted 6:00:01pm Apr. 24, 2014 | read full post »

Ebertfest Kicks Off With "Life Itself"
Steve James ("Hoop Dreams") presented "Life Itself," the documentary about Roger Ebert, last night at the majestic Virginia Theater in Roger's home town of Urbana, Illinois, where Roger watched films as a boy and as a college student at the University of Illinois.  He told us he had always thought

posted 9:28:24am Apr. 24, 2014 | read full post »

Cameron Diaz
Cameron Diaz stars in the revenge comedy, "The Other Woman" this week, so it is a good time to look back at some of the highlights of her remarkably varied career. Director Charles Russell said he wanted to give Diaz the full movie star glamor treatment in her first feature film appearance in "Th

posted 8:00:04am Apr. 24, 2014 | read full post »




Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.