Reese Witherspoon plays Elle Woods, a pretty and popular blonde sorority queen. She is stunned when her boyfriend dumps her because he needs “a Jackie, not a Marilyn.” She decides that the only way to get him back is to go to Harvard Law School – where he is also going – so he can see that she is proper ‘wife material’. Elle amazes everyone by getting into Harvard, but once there, she finds that a ditzy blonde with a love of fashion is not going to be very popular – and she will have to work hard, not just at her studies, but at fitting in and making friends. And will it all be worth it in the end? Will she get her boyfriend back?
Reese Witherspoon is a great actress and really shines in romantic comedies. Here, she plays the part of Elle to perfection, and makes the audience root for her all the way. Able support is given by Luke Wilson (adorable as the only real friend she makes at Harvard) and Jennifer Coolidge, as Elle’s beautician. (Connelly, who I often find quite annoying, was great in this film). Selma Blair also shines as Elle’s love rival.
The only scene which didn’t work for me is the ‘bend and snap’ scene, where Elle teaches a number of women in a beauty salon how to do a move which will make men find them irresistibly attractive. However, I can certainly forgive one slightly dodgy scene in an otherwise good film.
The ending is pretty predictable, but the film is no less enjoyable for that. The charisma of the main actress carries the audience along, and this is a movie that left me with a big smile on my face. I’m certainly not surprised that this was popular enough to become a hit musical stage show.
Year of release: 2001
Director: Robert Luketic
Writers: Amanda Brown (book), Karen McCullah Lutz, Kirsten Smith
Main cast: Reese Witherspoon, Selma Blair, Luke Wilson, Jennifer Coolidge