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such a nasty woman | by maryann johanson

Legally Blonde (review)

Counsel for the Defense

May it please the court, the evidence will show that the defendant Elle Woods, in the person of Reese Witherspoon (ref: People v. Election, People v. Pleasantville), is not the dumb blonde bunny of which she is accused of being. Further, your honor, the evidence will show that just because the movie my client is associated with is silly doesn’t mean it doesn’t have something smart to say.
Exhibit A, your honor, will be my client herself. Yes, as she sits here in court today dressed in pink leather and– Yes, your honor, that is a small Chihuahua in her fluffy handbag… It is perhaps easy to understand why her fellow law students at Harvard stooped to such undignified slurs as “Malibu Barbie,” and why her former boyfriend, law student Warner Huntington III, in the person of Matthew Davis (ref: The United States v. Pearl Harbor), unfairly labeled her a “Marilyn” when he was in need of a “Jackie.” But such an instant dismissal of my client based on her appearance and demeanor is precisely the kind of rash injustice Exhibit B, the film Legally Blonde, strives to counter. My client, your honor, took the initiative — one that no one expected her to take — in applying to Harvard Law School, in studying diligently, and, in the end, proving herself worthy of that illustrious university. Harvard — and indeed the institute of the law itself — does not post a dress code, your honor, and for anyone to assume that merely because my client’s wardrobe is somewhat more colorful than the standard legal attire is not reason enough to dismiss her.

I intend to call a series of witnesses, your honor, starting with a film historian who will put my client and Legally Blonde within the context of the ditzy screwball comedies of old– Yes, your honor, D.S.C. or “ditzy screwball comedy” is an accepted industry term… This witness will explain that silliness and even a certain degree of unlikeliness is to be expected from the genre — he will explain that whether a former fashion major would actually ever be accepted to Harvard Law School is beside the point and that so-called “charming romantic fantasy” is, in fact, the entire raison d’etre of D.S.C.’s. Further, this witness will testify that many of the classic comedic actresses of the D.S.C. era were also blonde… just as my client is.

Next I will call several critics of contemporary film who will place my client and Legally Blonde within the context of modern cinema. One, who testified to the grand jury that Legally Blonde is “Clueless goes to grad school,” will explain why Legally Blonde deserves approbation and not the offhand dismissal it has received. If I may again quote from the witness’s grand jury testimony? Thank you, your honor. The film is, and I quote, “a good-natured, funny, and sweet reminder that it’s more important for one’s own happiness to be nice to people and kind to animals than it is to be mean for the sake of meanness; and that it’s far more satisfying to remain true to one’s own self while expanding one’s horizons than it is to remake oneself completely in order to appease the powers that be. Plus, Luke Wilson is totally adorable.” Yes, your honor, Mr. Wilson (ref: The United States v. Charlie’s Angels, People v. My Dog Skip) is being tried separately.

Another contemporary critic will explain why my client is, in fact, one of the best young actresses working today. In the grand jury, this witness testified: “It takes a smart gal to play a dumb blonde, especially one who’s not as dumb as she thinks she is, and Witherspoon is one smart cookie.”

Finally, your honor, I intend to call to the stand a scholar of feminist studies, who will explain the, and I quote, “Go Girl!” attitude of Legally Blonde. This witness will testify as to importance, particularly for the young female audience at which Legally Blonde is primarily aimed, of the reinforcement of the message that one shouldn’t let the world’s preconceived notions hold one back from taking a chance and learning something new about oneself. Further, this witness will explain why it is vital that this film’s young audience understand that the pursuit of romance — such as is the initial motive for my client in going to Harvard — need not be all that life is about.

In short, your honor, we respectfully submit that it is nothing but irrational prejudice against light-haired persons, particularly women, and against silly, fluffy movies that brings us here today.

Thank you.

[reader comments on this review]

MPAA: rated PG-13 for language and sexual references

viewed at a private screening with an audience of critics

official site | IMDb
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