Elle Woods would be gratified to know that Judge Lacey Worrell wrote this review on scented pink stationery.
Boldly going where no blonde has gone.
There are times when I am in awe of DVD technology. Remember back in the old days, when we were stuck watching VHS tapes with no extras? Oh, forget about that technical stuff. And who cares about pesky plot points and technical specifications? What I'm really jazzed about is the fact that the Legally Blonde Platinum Collection comes with a pink pen, matching notepad, and fun refrigerator magnets with famous Elle Woods phrases like "bend and snap" and "this party is super-fun," and to make the experience even more ethereal, both DVDs and the accompanying accessories are boxed in a pink cardboard clutch! What more could a high-maintenance girl ask for? Oh, and the two movies included in the collection are fun, too.
Facts of the Case
Legally Blonde and Legally Blonde 2 follow the adventures of sunny, über-feminine California girl Elle Woods (Reese Witherspoon, Sweet Home Alabama) as she sets out to prove that while as a blonde, she may have more fun, it's best not to underestimate her once she sets her mind to something. With her vast knowledge of fashion merchandising, fabrics, and all things pink, Elle and her little dog, Bruiser, set out to change the world.
In Legally Blonde, sorority girl Elle is expecting an engagement ring from her accomplished boyfriend, Warner (Matthew Davis, Pearl Harbor). When he dumps her in favor of a preppy, uptight girl from the northeast (Selma Blair, Cruel Intentions), Elle follows him to Harvard Law School in order to win him back. First she must get admitted, which she manages by submitting an unorthodox admission tape where she emphasizes her ability to remember details, such as the plot of Days of our Lives, her commitment to her sorority as she lobbies against the use of cheap toilet paper in the bathrooms of the sorority house, and her use of legal terminology, such as saying "I object!" when a man ogles her on the street.
Though Elle sails through the admissions process, she finds herself a fish out of water on the Harvard campus. In sharp contrast to the uptight, neurotic overachievers around her, Elle carries Bruiser wherever she goes, causing fellow students to mock and attempt to humiliate her, comparing her to Malibu Barbie. Elle does find some friends, however, such as her manicurist (Jennifer Coolidge, American Pie) and a potential new love interest (Owen Wilson, The Royal Tenenbaums) at the law firm where Elle interns. She also finds a potential mentor in one of her professors (Victor Garber, Titanic), who takes her on as an intern in a high-profile murder case.
Legally Blonde 2 finds Elle planning her wedding. In researching Bruiser's parentage in order to invite his relatives to the wedding, she is horrified to discover that Bruiser's mother has been a victim of cruel animal testing. After being unexpectedly fired from her law firm, Elle travels to Washington, D.C. to lobby for animal rights, while working under the tutelage of a congresswoman played by Sally Field (Mrs. Doubtfire). Elle instantly clicks with Sid (Bob Newhart, Newhart), an in-the-know doorman who has seen his share of political scandals.
Elle must battle the usual misconceptions about her intelligence, including thinly veiled barbs from the congresswoman's chief of staff, played by Regina King (Ray). Upon seeing her hot pink pillbox hat and matching suit, major players in Washington fail to take her seriously. A potential homosexuality scandal arises when Bruiser falls for a congressman's very macho Rottweiler. Although she manages to befriend embattled congresswoman and fellow Delta Nu Libby Hauser (Dana Ivey, Sleepless in Seattle), Elle discovers she must battle a surprise adversary as she lobbies to pass legislation to ban animal testing.
Elle is the ultimate girlie-girl. Her resume and the bill she attempts to present to Congress are printed on pink paper, she carries little Bruiser wherever she goes, and when she descends on Washington, she does it with gorgeous style that would make even Jackie O. swoon. What is appealing about the character of Elle is her utter guilelessness. She is kind and sweet and genuinely puzzled when people are sarcastic to her. Witherspoon plays her with passion, including the much-needed edge that convinces the audience that Elle is much smarter than she appears to be upon a first impression.
The writing in both films is snappy and at times hysterically funny. Elle is given some classic lines, delivered by Witherspoon with optimistic determination. Legally Blonde 2 has some exceptionally laugh-out-loud lines, and it more than holds its own against the original film. As Elle sets off for Washington, she says, "I taught Bruiser to shop on-line. I think I can handle Congress." Upon entering a congressional hearing, she exclaims, "This is just like C-SPAN! Except I'm not bored." After a tough day on the job, she remarks to Sid, "I feel just like white, open-toed shoes after Labor Day."
To catch the smaller comedic details requires repeated viewings. When Elle and her manicurist attempt to win over a good-looking UPS employee in Legally Blonde, it creates plenty of opportunity to discuss his "package." After Bruiser is outed, the scene immediately following features him in a miniature leather outfit, sitting contentedly with his new Rottweiler boyfriend. The set design is as central to the character of Elle as Witherspoon's performance, and women everywhere will sigh with longing when viewing Elle's lush, feminine accommodations in each film. Even Elle's desk in ultra-conservative Washington is a confection of pink.
Both films feature beautiful cinematography, and the picture and colors look beautiful on DVD. The sound is adequate but nothing spectacular. The special features included on each disc are definitely worth a look, especially the trivia track on the original film; fans of VH-1's Pop-Up Video will enjoy watching the film as trivia about each scene periodically flashes across the screen. Legally Blonde 2 contains the usual gag reel and deleted scenes, but from a production standpoint, the featurette is interesting and includes all of the major players, including Witherspoon, Newhart, the producers, and the director. Of particular interest is the effect the heightened security in Washington, D.C. had on the production; many important scenes had to be filmed in Salt Lake City instead. Fans of '80s music will also find it interesting that "Mickey" singer Toni Basil orchestrated the choreography for the film.
The Rebuttal Witnesses
To truly enjoy each film, one must occasionally set aside rational thought. In Legally Blonde, law student Elle is given the opportunity to argue a high-profile murder case in open court, something that is not exactly common. In Legally Blonde 2, the same holds true: The ease with which she ingratiates herself with important members of Congress is astounding. Neither movie contains an ounce of suspense; there is no doubt that Elle will save the day, but this small fact fails to detract from the films' charms.
Jennifer Coolidge is given far too little screen time in Legally Blonde 2, but Bob Newhart is an endearing and sweet addition as Elle's Washington mentor and friend. With his quiet grace, he just about steals the movie from Field and Witherspoon.
Finally, try not to gag during the "Blonde Ambition" featurette when it is suggested that real-life political activists use Elle's fictional work as a primer for getting one's voice heard. That's like telling future barbers to learn to cut hair by watching Barbershop. It's a movie, people.
This collection is an entertaining marvel of marketing genius. It would make a terrific gift or a lighthearted addition to your own DVD collection. Witherspoon, in her career-defining turn in the first film, make Elle into a winning heroine.
The Legally Blonde Platinum Collection is strongly recommended by the court, with extra snaps for the fact that Elle would be tickled pink that the DVDs' legal theme coordinates so perfectly with DVD Verdict.
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