He Said/She Said #09: Legally Blonde
He Said/She Said is a bi-weekly column where a male and female reviewer from the site team up to debate the merits of a particular film.
Well, it’s about time Hollywood make a movie about a beautiful, rich white girl that finds a way to make it in this crazy world. We all know the odds are stacked against them and it’s tough for them to catch a break in life. Oh wait…no it’s not. Although I’d love to sympathize with the rich and beautiful, the very premise of LEGALLY BLONDE is ridiculous from start to finish. It was almost insulting that the Hollywood idea factory would actually expect audiences to root for a character like Elle Woods to reach even more success than she’s already been given.
But let’s say you buy into the story and you’re on the edge of your seat, waiting for Elle to prove her critics wrong and get that darn law degree. You’re still left with about a dozen jokes that have been told before and more clichés then you know what to do with. But don’t worry because there are plenty of original subtleties. For example; everything she wears is the color pink, because she’s a girl…get it?
Yeah, that’s about as deep as the movie gets. I understand I’m not the target audience for this kind of film, but I really struggle to find the appeal this has to anyone. Isn’t it insulting? Doesn’t it bother anyone that the only reason Elle decided to get her law degree in the first place was to make a guy jealous? I just wouldn’t want my daughter to grow up thinking that the only way she should attempt to make something of herself is if it helps her marry a rich guy. We deserve more from our cheesy romantic comedies than that.
I will admit that Legally Blonde does not have all the merits of an Oscar winning film, but you know what—it was fun. Elle Woods was not written to be a deep, thought-provoking character she was written to be a little obnoxious and very superficial, but Reese Witherspoon did such a good job with Elle that it was difficult not to like her immediately. On initial viewing it might be a little much to take in, what with all the pink outfits, fuzzy pens and dressed up Chihuahua, but the movie has more to offer than a rich girl trying to get with a guy. Elle has a defined character arc that endears her to the audience making us root for her as she studies for the LSAT and gets into Harvard Law–and don’t forget she does this all with a keen fashion sense.
And you know what, the movie actually had a moral message to deliver to girls…you don’t need a guy to make it in this world; you can succeed on your own! Hollywood is finally starting to produce female characters with some depth and Elle is one of them. This is the kind of movie I would want my daughter to see only because being a smart and independent woman is still a difficult thing to pull off but it is possible, because contrary to what they say—this is still a man’s world. So if I need a little help from a fictional law student in a pink suit to drive that point home then so be it.