LEGALLY BLONDE

3.5 Stars
Year Released: 2001
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Running Time: 96 minutes
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It being an unabashed piece of popcorn fluff, the surprise summer smash Legally Blonde is one of those films one can easily underestimate on first view and dismiss as “fun but disposable.” But as with many light entertainments, this story of a bubbly blonde sorority girl (Reese Witherspoon) who makes her way to Harvard Law to win back her ex-boyfriend (Matthew Davis), it shows a surprising durability on the home screen–something you can pop in at any time for a few guaranteed laughs and smiles.
MGM’s DVD of the film bears a “Special Edition” banner, and indeed the company has beefed up the supplements for this release, which offers all the usual features and more in the sprightly, poppy vibe of the film. One of the more unusual features is a “trivia track” that enables one to watch the entire film with Pop-Up Video-style factoids appearing throughout. The incessant references to blondes and hair color grow tiresome, but now and again some interesting minutiae about the production and cast is given. Since a lot of information can be imparted with these onscreen text boxes, there was bound to be some overlap with the two audio commentaries though this proves to be a negligible problem. One track featuring cinematographer Anthony Richmond, costume designer Sophie de Rakoff Carbonell, production designer Melissa Stewart, animal trainer Sue Chipperton, and screenwriters Karen McCullah Lutz and Kirsten Smith is, as one would expect, a clipped-together job, but an especially unusual one. The participants work in three individual shifts–Richmond on the first; Stewart and a late-joining Carbonell and Chipperton on the second; and Lutz and Smith on the last–resulting in a strange unevenness. Richmond’s sternly serious section is a bit of a drag, but thankfully his is a relatively short segment; a more appropriate playfulness gradually creeps into the second segment as a solo Stewart is first joined by Carbonell, then Chipperton; then that vibe takes over completely with the third, featuring the ebullient Lutz and Smith. That quality characterizes the other commentary, a group sit with Witherspoon, director Robert Luketic, and producer Marc Platt. While the three are guilty of laying on the mutual back-patting a little too thick, the sentiment and their enthusiasm is genuine, making for an interesting and informative listen.
More extras are included on the DVD’s flip side. In addition to the usual theatrical trailer and soundtrack tie-in music video (Hoku’s “Perfect Day”), some amusing but not terribly missed deleted scenes are included with introductions by Luketic are included as well as two behind-the-scenes featurettes. In a refreshing change of pace, these two featurettes are not recycled from the EPK and are original to the DVD edition. The first, “Inside Legally Blonde,” is a succinct but fairly comprehensive look into the project, from the writing of the original novel (by Amanda Brown) to the test screening-prompted reshoot of the ending (sadly, the original ending is not among the deleted scenes on the disc). The second, “The Hair That Ate Hollywood,” is a special treat for the film’s fashion-phile target audience: a detailed look into the work behind Witherspoon’s multitude of hairstyles.
Specifications: 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen and 1.33:1 full frame; English 5.1 Surround; French and Spanish Dolby Surround; English, French, and Spanish subtitles; English closed captioning.



Posted on July 9, 2001 in Reviews by
Buffer


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