Fresh but not covering any new ground
Underappreciated blonde from Bel Aire, Elle Woods, goes to Harvard Law to recapture her ex-fiance. Our plucky fish out of water proves herself while learning some life lessons. Usual stuff, but well executed.
I came across a copy of National Jurist a few weeks back, which is magazine targeted to law students, and they had an article on this movie and judged its accuracy in a number of categories. Although there were a like number of things done right and those not quite, I felt that, overall, it was a fairly favorable review of the film. Most of the criticisms were rather nitpicky in my view, some having to do with student life and similar. The most critical bit, I'd say, is that first-year students simply don't get involved in actual trial situations (oops, is that a surprise?). It's a semi-important plot point in the movie, but glossed over by a throwaway line. Given the level of disbelief we need to get to that point, I don't think it's a big deal.
The movie itself has a strong sense of itself and what it's trying to be. It does revel in some stereotypical devices - not because it has to rely on them, but because it's having fun. There's a side plot with a manicurist that doesn't work as well as the rest.
The fundamental problem, in my mind, is a tough one to get around. The whole set up is that Elle is both a glamour girl as well as very smart and successful, but just in stereotypically high fashion ways. Her success in the story ends up depending more on the knowledge from fashion magazines than from her intelligence. Honestly, this is still from character as it should be, but it seems like a less powerful ending for it. I think they went for the easy laughs in this case.
Sticking a rating on this one is tough. It's fun, it feels good, but it's also not challenging or new. A six seems too low and a seven seems too high. How to break the tie?
Well, this is actually a DVD review. We've got widescreen and pan+scan both, deleted scenes, trailer, music video (Perfect Day by Hoku), and a well produced but uninspiring pair of studio making-of shorts. I've not listened to either of the two commentary tracks yet all the way through, but that's probably the best part available. No, I'm probably not going to be spending a lot of time on these special features, but you know, this feels like one of those movies I'll be able to put in at any time and enjoy. That's why I'll round up on this one.
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