Legally Blonde [2001]

If you've ever doubted how much a star can carry a movie, look no further than Legally Blonde, Robert Luketic's pop fluff about a sorority girl who becomes the reigning brain at Harvard Law School. The film tries way too hard to be pop fluff, but thankfully it also understands the comic glories of Reese Witherspoon. As Elle Woods, the supposedly dimwitted heroine, Witherspoon gives a high-wattage performance that somehow comes across as both lusciously cartoonish and warmly human. It's a radiant comic turn worthy of Marilyn Monroe, and Luketic throws the whole movie at her, even though its intentional kitsch and sledgehammer contrivances don't trust you enough to figure out on your own what might be guilty fun about it. It's a lame movie, essentially, that redeems itself by knowing just enough to keep things sunny and moving right along. The film is content to follow several steps behind the regal Witherspoon, carrying her train. You probably will be, too. --Steve Wiecking

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