Legally Blonde (stylized as LEGALLY blonde) is a 2001 American comedy film directed by Robert Luketic, written by Karen McCullah Lutz and Kirsten Smith, and produced by Marc E. Platt. The film stars Reese Witherspoon as a sorority girl who struggles to win back her ex-boyfriend by earning a law degree, along with Luke Wilson as a young attorney she meets during her studies, Matthew Davis as the ex-boyfriend, Selma Blair as his new fiancée, Victor Garber and Holland Taylor as law professors, Jennifer Coolidge as a manicurist, and Ali Larter as a fitness instructor accused of murder. The screenplay is based on the novel of the same name by Amanda Brown. Lutz based the film's sorority culture on her own experiences at James Madison University.
In her senior year as a Southern California college student, girlish sorority president Elle Woods (Reese Witherspoon) majors in fashion merchandising and is seriously in love with her boyfriend, Warner Huntington III (Matthew Davis), who will attend Harvard Law School the following year. She excitedly expects him to ask her to marry him, but instead he breaks up with her, explaining he needs a more "serious" girlfriend for his legal and political career.
Desperate to win Warner back, Elle studies for and passes the law-school entrance exam, applies to Harvard, and is accepted. Upon arriving at Harvard, her classmates look down upon her because of her naivete, and she discovers that Warner is engaged to another student, Vivian Kensington (Selma Blair). The only friend Elle makes is Paulette (Jennifer Coolidge), a divorced manicurist. Elle later helps Paulette gain custody of her dog back from her ex-husband as well as seduce the delivery man she has a crush on.
After Vivian tricks Elle into attending a party in a Playboy Bunny costume, Elle has a discussion with Warner and finally realizes he will never respect her. Now determined to succeed on her own, Elle studies hard and wins an internship with Professor Callahan (Victor Garber), as do Warner and Vivian. They will work with Callahan and an associate, attorney Emmett Richmond (Luke Wilson), to defend Brooke Taylor-Windham (Ali Larter), a famous fitness instructor accused of murdering her billionaire husband, Hayworth Windham. Brooke was once Elle's fitness instructor and a member of her sorority. Elle believes Brooke is innocent, but Brooke’s stepdaughter, Chutney (Linda Cardellini), and the household cabana boy, Enrique, claim that she is guilty, and that they saw Brooke standing over Windham's dead body, covered in his blood.
Brooke refuses to provide an alibi, but when Elle visits her in prison, she admits that she had liposuction on the day of the murder. Public knowledge of this fact would ruin Brooke's reputation as a fitness instructor, so Elle agrees to keep it secret and refuses to tell Callahan about it. Impressed by her integrity, Vivian starts to befriend Elle, also admitting that Warner only got into Harvard because his father pulled some strings.
The case against Brooke begins to weaken when Elle deduces that Enrique is gay after he correctly identifies Elle's shoe style. During the cross-examination, Emmett tricks him into identifying his boyfriend in court, proving that his testimony about having an affair with Brooke was a lie.
Impressed by her performance, Callahan discusses Elle's future with her and then makes sexual advances on her, which Elle immediately rejects. Soon after, Vivian lashes out at her after seeing Callahan's attempt but not Elle's rejection. Convinced that she will never be taken seriously, Elle decides to quit law school, but a female teacher, Professor Stromwell (Holland Taylor), encourages her to continue. Emmett explains Elle's encounter with Callahan to Vivian and Brooke. Vivian realizes she was wrong in her accusation against Elle and it was Callahan that sexually harassed her. Before the trial continues, a furious Brooke fires Callahan and hires Elle as her new attorney with Emmett supervising.
In cross-examination, Chutney claims to have been taking a shower and washing her hair at the time of the murder, and that the noise drowning out the gunshot. However, she had also admitted she had her hair permed earlier that day. Upon learning the truth, Elle points out that washing her hair shortly after the perm would have ruined her curls, which are still intact. Exposed, Chutney finally admits to shooting Hayworth accidentally because she thought he was Brooke, whom she hated for marrying her father at such a young age. Brooke is exonerated, and Chutney is arrested. After the trial, Warner tries to reconcile with Elle, but she rejects him, explaining that she needs a boyfriend who is less of a "bonehead" in her new career.
In the epilogue, Elle, who has graduated with high honors, is the class-elected speaker at the ceremony, and has been invited into one of Boston's best law firms; Vivian is now Elle's best friend and has called off her engagement with Warner, who graduated without honors and with no job offers; Paulette has married her delivery man and is expecting a baby girl to be named after Elle; and finally, Emmett has started his own practice, is now Elle's boyfriend, and will propose to her that night.
Warner Huntington III: Pooh bear, just get in the car.
(starts walking away, sniffling)
Warner Huntington III: You're gonna ruin your shoes.
(gets in car)
Professor Callahan: Do you think she woke up one morning and said: I think I'll go to law school today.
Elle: Did you see him? He's probably still scratching his head.
Paulette: Yeah, which must be a nice vacation for his balls.
|Release Date||26 June 2001|
|US Box Office||$95,000,000|
|Tagline||This summer go blonde!|
|Filming Locations||All Saint's Episcopal Church - 132 N. Euclid Avenue, Pasadena, California, USA|
|Sound Mix||DTS-Stereo, DTS, SDDS|
|Film Class||Comedy of Manners, Romantic Comedy|
|Themes||Fish Out of Water, Underdogs, Culture Clash, Success is the Best Revenge|
|Tones||Bright, Whimsical, Easygoing, Springlike, Sweet, Light, Satirical|