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Legally Blonde
Special Edition

review by Zach B.


Rated PG-13

Running Time: 96 minutes

Starring Reese Whitherspoon, Luke Wilson, Selma Blair, Matthew Davis, Victor Garber, Jennifer Coolidge

Screenplay by Karen McCullah Lutz & Kirsten Smith
Based on the book by Amanda Brown

Directed by Robert Luketic

Studio: MGM

Retail Price: $26.98

Features: Audio Commentary with Director Robert Luketic, Producer Mark Platt and Reese Whiterspoon, Audio Commentary with Director Of Photography Anthony Richmond, Costume Designer Sophie de Rakoff Carbonell, Production Designer Melissa Stewart, Screenwriter Karen McCullah Lutz, Screenwriter Kirsten Smith and Animal Trainer Sue Chipperton, Trivia Track, Deleted Scenes with Introductions, Inside "Legally Blonde" Featurette, The Hair That Ate Hollywood Featurette, Hoku "Perfect Day" Music Video, Theatrical Trailer, "The Princess Bride" DVD Trailer

Specs: 2.35:1 Anamorphic Widescreen, 1.33:1 Pan and Scan, English Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround, French Dolby Stereo, Spanish Dolby Stereo, English Subtitles, French Subtitles, Spanish Subtitles, English Closed Captions, Scene Selections (32 Scenes)

Reese Whiterspoon plays Elle Woods, a college sorority queen who seems to have it all. Good friends, a nice lifestyle and a loving boyfriend... that is, until her boyfriend, Warner (Matthew Davis) breaks off their relationship when Elle is expecting him to pop the big question of marriage. Warner explains to Elle that he needs some serious and not bubbly if he's to carry on his family's legacy and be a senator. Very hurt, poor Elle just can't seem to get over her snobby boyfriend. So, in hopes to win him back, she decides to follow him to Harvard Law School in "Legally Blonde", a surprisingly a really delightful romantic comedy. Despite how predictable it really is, there's a lot to like about this movie. I saw this movie in the theaters, and thought I was not expecting too much, it was one of the most enjoyable cinematic experiences I've had in a long time to my surprise.

Like a lot of you (actually, I'm not sure how accurate that statement is, seeing how this movie was a summer sleeper raking in more than 85 million dollars at the box office), the theatrical trailer originally turned me off from seeing the film, but I will admit I did think it had a pretty interesting premise so I decided to give it a chance and actually did bother to go see it in the theater. I was really, really surprised how much I enjoyed this movie. It's not some girly movie, but rather a movie I think anyone who's at least a teenager can enjoy. I can't remember the last time I laughed so hard at a film... that's how good it really is.

The movie is basically broken up into three parts: Elle trying to get into Harvard Law, Elle not fitting in and soon gaining acceptance and finally, Elle being hired by her law professor to intern at his firm and help solve a murder case. The film goes at a really nice pace and you'll be surprised how fast the time really flies by. Everything here is even and feels nice as we do get everything we can out of the story. This in part of director Robert Luketic's great directing, as he makes the film work with some nice visuals and links together key scenes perfectly. It's because of him that the film goes at a good pace, and he really does a fantastic job here. The editing in this film is also well done so we get all the visual jokes and get nice shots of what is going on.

A lot of people are going to think "Legally Blonde" is a stupid, dull teen comedy when they couldn't be farther from the truth. The film is really a falt-out funny, sharp and smart satire. While the movie features it's fair share of hilarious one-liners and slapstick comedy, it also pokes fun about bubbly blondes and makes points about appearances being deceptive, college admissions, personalities and intelligence. All of this is done with much effectiveness and works quite well with the movie. None of it seems forced and all of it is natural. While the story itself is very predictable and you always know what is going to happen, the dialogue is often witty and you actually think characters would say this. Characters and plots are developed really well. The film is actually based on a book that I believe hasn't been released yet. Either way, it's a very solid script that is funny, and I mentioned earlier in this review, even. Critics have been calling this the new "Clueless", but I think there are a lot of differences that set both apart.

The acting in the movie is fantastic as the film features great casting. I found everyone to bring a lot more to the roles then the characters suggested, giving more to the dimensions. Basically, every actor makes his or her character believable. Reese Whiterspoon fits the bill perfectly as Elle, bring the wit, charm and enthusiasm to the role. This is her movie, and she runs with it all the way to the finish line with much passion. Selma Blair is her usual self as Elle's rival and Warner's new fiancee while Luke Wilson brings his fine acting skills and likable image to Emmet Richmond, the guy who takes Elle under his wing. Those who play Elle's Harvard Law peers also do a fine job with their own brand of quirkiness. Overall, there is strong ensemble acting.

While "Legally Blonde" may seem like a movie that will be known for its breezy, light pop songs in the music department, I was really surprised how strong the score from composer Rolfe Kent sounded. While I'm more then certain this movie will be ignored for any sort of Oscar® consideration, the score should not. The score goes side by side with the film and works ingeniously. Kent really creates an amazing score that sounds great as he hits the right notes with what's going on screen. He knows when to be serious and creates strong melodies there, but he also composes lighthearted and catchy stuff for the more fun and comedic moments. I know this movie may not seem like a score type of the movie, but believe it or not, it actually is and is one of the finer scores I've had the pleasure of listening to in a very long time. You always find gold in the places you least expect to.

"Legally Blonde" is a movie that is really enjoyable and one of the sharpest comedies I've seen in a long time. Complete with a solid story, great comedic acting, a load of funny moments and fine direction, "Legally Blonde" is a movie that should appeal to all ages and genders despite what the advertising may suggest. As long as you go in not taking it seriously, you'll have a great time with a really entertaining film.

I suppose since this movie was so popular during the summer of 2001, MGM has gone out to please both camps. A more mainstream audience for the pan and scan version that fills standard televisions, and the cinema buff's anamorphic widescreen (in the aspect ratio of 2.35:1). Each transfer is quite good. Color saturation is quite nice and doesn't go overboard, while detail and black levels are really solid giving the movie a very nice and bright blazing look. I noticed some slight noise in some scenes which isn't too bad. Some pieces of dirt and blemishes are on the print, but they're very few and are never distracting. The biggest problem I noticed were artifacts, which can be a bit annoying and plentiful. Still, this is a very nice transfer from MGM. All viewers will be pleased no matter which aspect ratio is chosen.

"Legally Blonde" also features a surprisingly strong 5.1 Dolby Digital mix in English. Dialogue is crisp and clear and nothing overpowers it, as sounds in the movie tend to have a fine balance. Surrounds are rather plentiful and active. It won't blow your speakers out, but when there is substantial speaker use, you'll hear it and enjoy it. Fidelity and dynamic range are pretty good, while .1 LFE can be rather strong. Joffe's very nice score (which I keep mentioning I enjoyed) sounds great and sucks you in. The music is very well-mixed with a great sound stage. French and Spanish stereo surround tracks are included, plus English subtitles, French subtitles, Spanish subtitles and English closed captions.

It only makes sense for MGM to make a special edition for their big summer hit, and it sure does deserve it. This disc is filled with some pretty great features, so let's take a look. On the first side, with the film, there's the choice of two commentaries. The first Audio Commentary with Director Robert Luketic, Producer Mark Platt and Reese Whiterspoon is quite good. This track isn't very technical, but they all chat like they're chummy and share a lot of laughs and a lot of great as well as intriguing production stories. This is a fun track that perfectly fits this fun movie. It hooks you in and there's a lot to absorb, so do check it out.

The Audio Commentary with Director Of Photography Anthony Richmond, Costume Designer Sophie de Rakoff Carbonell, Production Designer Melissa Stewart, Screenwriter Karen McCullah Lutz, Screenwriter Kirsten Smith and Animal Trainer Sue Chipperton is rather interesting and I guess is more production-like. There's a ton of information to get out of this track as you hear many different perspective and get a feel of the movie coming together from so many different sides. Each person has their say on key scenes, and it feels a lot like two commentaries broken up into one. With the exception of McCullah and Smith, it seems like everyone else was recorded separate.While you get insight and learn techniques as well as other thoughts throughout the movie, I felt if they edited it different, it could have been better. Put key thoughts for every speaker on every scene, instead of select ones at times. Still, you get a good sense of the thoughts, so I guess it's okay. I just felt that if they edited it different by adding more speakers to scenes, there could have been info on this track.

There's also a Trivia Track, a "Pop-Up Video" sorta thing which seems to becoming popular with DVD releases. All sorts of random facts appear on screen while you're watching. While some tend to go off on a tangent at times, they're fun reads.

On the second side, we have Deleted Scenes with introductions from Robert Luketic and their cuts. They can be short, and in rough form, but they're all fun watches and Luketic's opening comments are pretty great. Some play more like extended scenes or alternate scenes. And yes, "The Betting Pool" is here, which was featured in the trailer and was cut out of the final movie (and the trailer is on the disc of course). In all, these are nice.

Two featurettes are included. The first, Inside "Legally Blonde" is a bit promotional, but still a great watch. Interviews and film clips are included, but there's some good stuff here that I found very informative and entertaining. Amanda Brown discusses the inspiration for the novel that inspired the movie, while there's a focus on screenwriters Kirsten Smith and Karen McCullah Lutz. We learn Marc Platt was a law student, while there's also interviews and discussion on the film with Luketic, Luke Wilson, Whiterspoon and others. Most of the cast interviews are derived from press junkets and on-the-set stuff. Still, it's fun.

The Hair That Ate Hollywood is the second and shorter featurette and focuses on... hair. Robert Luketic, key hairstylist Joy Zapata, hair color director Nancy Braun, Marc Platt, Whiterspoon and other interviews are here. Film clips, hair tests and other bits and pieces are on this featurette. It's different for sure, and if you're interested in the "blonde-ness" of the movie, do check this out.

Rounding the disc out is the Hoku "Perfect Day" Music Video (it's somewhat catchy actually), the Theatrical Trailer in two channel sound and 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen and The Princess Bride DVD Trailer in full frame.

"Legally Blonde" is one of the best comedies I've seen in a long time, and this DVD edition is superb. Boasting nice transfers to please all watches, a fine 5.1 track and some worthwhile extras, this is one movie worth checking out if you haven't seen it, and a must buy for fans of the film.

(4/5 - NOT included in final score)




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