Making the Grades
Britney Spears move over. Blonde bombshells have a new icon to follow this summer. She's perky, petite and Legally Blonde.
Sorority president Elle Woods (Reese Witherspoon) is an affluent California-campus flavor-of-the-month Homecoming Queen whose Harvard-bound boyfriend (Matthew Davis) dumps her. His political ambitions and traditional New England family call for "a Jackie, and not a Marilyn" in his promising future. But the faux fur fashion girl isn't about to be loved and left. Ignoring the stuffy conventions of the Ivy League university, she sends a video taped application featuring her own unique bikini clad assets to the university's entrance board and wins a spot at the prestigious law school. That's when she finds out there's more to legal studies than showing up at class. Harassed by school professors (Holland Taylor, Victor Garber) and scorned by the conservative cardigan and pearl type, Elle battles for recognition, acceptance, and lost love in Boston's cool academic climate.
Contrary to the hair color myth, Witherspoon's character proves surprisingly spunky and warm despite the ditzy head tilting, high-pitched squealing and fluffy pink apparel--although we're not talking rocket science here. Elle's savvy extends beyond hair care when she befriends Pauline (Jennifer Coolidge)--her romantically challenged manicurist, to whom she offers (along with other salon regulars) some pointed tips on attracting the attention of the opposite sex. In another likeable move, she takes action to raise the desirability quotient of an awkward classmate (Oz Perkins), and becomes one of the student lawyers chosen to help in a murder case involving a former sorority sister.
But all of Elle's good deeds are lost in the haze of blatant sexuality. While the skimpy, skintight t-shirts and bikini wardrobe of the sorority girls are left behind when the story moves to the east coast, the rest of the script, regardless of location, exposes the audience to a barrage of profanities, sexual discussion about adult body parts, and some dirty dealings in the legal backrooms.
Prepared for 90 minutes of dumb blonde jokes, I was surprised by Legally Blonde's more serious--albeit simplistic--examination of the folly of making assumptions based on face value (or hair color). Yet for all its poof and coif, parents may find the film's sexual content too hair-raising to recommend it for family viewing.
Discussion Ideas After The Movie
Teaching ideas and topics to discuss about Legally Blonde (2001).
Talk about the movie with your family…
Elle Woods is out to challenge the blonde stereotype. Although she is anything but conservative, how does she show her commendable qualities of compassion and personal integrity in this story? What did law school teach her about personal ethics? What does her choice of computer have to say about her individuality?
People are not always what they initially appear to be. Who, besides Elle, proved to be different than first assumed?