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"Legally Blonde"

Directed by Robert Luketic.
Written by Karen McCullah Lutz and Kirsten Smith. 
Starring Reese Witherspoon.
Release Year:  2001 
Review Date:  7/15/01 


This past Friday, while visiting my family in Rochester, New York, I went out with my sister Cate to see "Legally Blonde" you can imagine, because Cate really wanted to see this film.  (On most other occasions, I would have to be shot and dragged to the theater, but for my sis, the world.)  There were signs--bad signs--that this film would not be promising.

The target audience for this film is clearly women, aged 12-24.  Cate—who turned 13 in February--and I arrived to the theater at 12:40 for a 12:50 start (remember, school's out) and we were the first ones in the theater.  Hmm.  The ticket guy messed up RIPPING OUR TICKET STUB.  This is the first time I have ever had an usher come back into the theater after me and say, "Sorry sir...I need the other half of your ticket.  I took the wrong one."  (He later said it was his first day, but still.)  And, when the previews finally started, they showed the preview for the upcoming Mariah Carey film...and that movie, "Glitter", looked like shit.

Before I tell you how bad this movie was, let me just acknowledge that I appreciate Reese Witherspoon's talents, if not her looks:  her performance in "Election" (a far superior film to "Legally Blonde") was hilarious and worthy of more acclaim than she won for the role.  Now, in her current movie, she is trying to essentially play Alicia Silverstone.

Why?  Because Witherspoon's character is a complete rip-off of Silverstone's entire performance in the much better and funnier "Clueless", playing a rich snobby blonde named Cher that uses the word "like" as if it was her day job.  In "Legally Blonde", Witherspoon plays a rich snobby sorority sister named Elle that gets dumped by her perfect boyfriend Warner (Matthew Davis) and decides that--because Warner is her "future husband"--she will try and win him back.  How?  Well, since Warner is headed to Harvard Law School, Elle (with her 4.0 in Fashion Design) decides to try and win acceptance at Harvard Law and prove to Warner that he is making a big mistake in letting her go.

Although the film tries to convince the audience that Elle is dumb as a rock, she gets a high LSAT score through some last-minute studying (she skips Greek Week...isn't that usually in the spring?) and gets accepted at the school.  I am surprised that real-life Harvard officials approved the mockery that is made of their application process.  It was really ridiculous.  More ridiculous is how smart and talented Elle gets at Harvard once she arrives.  And, it is also impressive how fast everyone at Harvard--with their Oxfords and cardigan sweaters and drab plaid shirts--become smitten with Elle, a stereotypical Californian in manners and a "Miami Vice"-era neon in manner of dress.  Impressive still is how Elle applied to Harvard Law School in the spring of 2001 for a fall 2001 start.  Do I LOOK like a fucking idiot??  Come on!

The story is stupid, the sorority high jinks of the film's initial half-hour are unfunny, and its final 45-minute courtroom sequence is--as the French would say--tres horrible.  (As you can tell, my command of the French language is still brilliant.)  But, the worst part about this whole atrocious mess?  My sister sat next to me the whole time and only laughed once during this "comedy", and it was at the expense of cursing gay lovers.  Sad.  The other target-aged females in the audience seemed pretty bored with the proceedings as well.

Rating:  Hard Vice


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Bellview Rating System:

"Opening Weekend":  This is the highest rating a movie can receive.  Reserved for movies that exhibit the highest level of acting, plot, character development, setting...or Salma Hayek.  Not necessarily in that order. 

"$X.XX Show":  This price changes each year due to the inflation of movie prices; currently, it is the $9.50 Show.  While not technically perfect, this is a movie that will still entertain you at a very high level.  "Undercover Brother" falls into this category; it's no "Casablanca", but you'll have a great time watching.  The $9.50 Show won't win any Oscars, but you'll be quoting lines from the thing for ages (see "Office Space"). 

"Matinee":  An average movie that merits no more than a $6.50 viewing at your local theater.  Seeing it for less than $9.50 will make you feel a lot better about yourself.  A movie like "Blue Crush" fits this category; you leave the theater saying "That wasn't too, did you see that Lakers game last night?" 

"Rental":  This rating indicates a movie that you see in the previews and say to your friend, "I'll be sure to miss that one."  Mostly forgettable, you couldn't lose too much by going to Hollywood Video and paying $3 to watch it with your sig other, but you would only do that if the video store was out of copies of "Ronin."  If you can, see this movie for free.  This is what your TV Guide would give "one and a half stars." 

"Hard Vice":  This rating is the bottom of the barrel.  A movie that only six other human beings have witnessed, this is the worst movie I have ever seen.  A Shannon Tweed "thriller," it is so bad as to be funny during almost every one of its 84 minutes, and includes the worst ending ever put into a movie.  Marginally worse than "Cabin Boy", "The Avengers" or "Leonard, Part 6", this rating means that you should avoid this movie at all costs, or no costs, EVEN IF YOU CAN SEE IT FOR FREE!  (Warning:  strong profanity will be used in all reviews of "Hard Vice"-rated movies.)

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The "fine print":
All material by Justin Elliot Bell for SMR/Bellview/ except where noted
© 1999-2009 Justin Elliot Bell This site was last updated 01/08/09