Just when you thought that the last "triumph against the odds" story had been told, that the personal growth pipeline had been well and truly drained, along saunters Hollywood to prove, once again, that every underdog has its day. That's not to say, however, that anything about Legally Blonde can be considered a dog. Except, of course, Bruiser, Elle's pampered chihuahua...
But, given that it delivers a moral about ignoring skin-deep impressions and finding the person within, it's ironic that what lies at the heart of the screenplay is nowhere near as appealing as the glossy top layer. Lurking beneath the whip-smart, superbly delivered dialogue and genuine performances lies a basic, clunky potboiler that sticks to convention like a barnacle to a ship's hull. But while you won't find much in the way of unexpected twists and turns, the cast will keep you chuckling instead of checking the time.
Chief among the advantages is Reese Witherspoon, who devours this star turn without ever overpowering her fellow cast members. Yes, she's perky, charming and very Clueless-a-like, but Elle Woods isn't a one-note character, an achievement that has more to do with Witherspoon's canny acting than the throwaway lines the script gives her. And she's surrounded by more than able support, including Luke Wilson, Best In Show's Jennifer Coolidge and Selma Blair, who gets to unleash the bitch within as Elle's scheming rival.
Everyone involved rises above the limitations of a film aimed primarily at teenage girls. Plus, while the pacing could use work - the plot doesn't so much catch its breath in the midsection as stop for a latte and a bagel, - you can forgive it all and just enjoy the quality humour on display.