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By Brad Laidman | July 12, 2001

OK it was cute when Film Threat decided to bag on “Crocodile Dundee III: The Search for Wrinkle Cream.” After all, who besides Paul Hogan’s accountant really wanted to see that, and it was still pretty funny when Chris Gore and company decided to forego The Animal screening, even though I know for a fact that they pass around e mails late at night talking about how much they enjoyed Deuce Bigalow: Male Gigalo, but the outright dissing of the new Reese Witherspoon opus “Legally Blonde” was completely unwarranted!
Look at the evidence. Witherspoon is coming off of a master turn as super motivated Tracy Flick in the critically worshiped Election, and writer Karen McCulluh Lutz’ previous effort 10 Things I Hate About You was so literately funny, that to this day I am doing my best to deal with my same sex attraction to Heath Ledger. This movie deserves some respect. Who here didn’t watch “The Paper Chase” and wish that there were some hot blondes tossed in?
“Legally Blonde” isn’t very original, but it stands up well next to a number of other “not-so-dumb-blonde” movies. The film probably doesn’t hold up as well as Alicia Siverstone’s “Clueless,” however, Witherspoon’s never-say-die bounce holds up well next to the career-making roles of Melanie Griffith in “Working Girl,” Marisa Tomei in “My Cousin Vinny.” And dare I say it even in the uber-shadow of Judy Holiday’s “Born Yesterday.” It takes a special girl to walk through a casual house party dressed like a Playboy bunny without losing her cool sense of dignity.
This is a modern day Capra movie, which means you might be embarrassed to tell your friends you went to see it, but you left the theater with a big smile on your face. Admit it, a sorority queen kicking a*s at Harvard Law School isn’t half as absurd a concept as Jefferson Smith conquering Congress.
I’m not for a second going to believe that most Sorority Presidents/Homecoming Queens are as nice, decent, and deserving of our sympathy as Witherspoon is here. But wouldn’t it be nice if it were true. For good measure “Legally Blonde” tosses in the latest of Luke Wilson’s semi-brilliant low key, nice guy routines that we all loved so much in Blue Streak and Charlie’s Angels. I’m not saying that I would interrupt a discussion of Scorcese, Coppola, Kubrick, and Woo to laud this one, but while you gasbags go at it for the millionth time, I’ll be talking about that stellar Perry Mason climax with your girlfriends.

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