Pampered Beverly Hills blonde Elle Woods is dumped by her wealthy boyfriend, so she follows him to Harvard Law School in order to win him back. Everyone is surprised when she proves rather astute at legal matters.
A surprisingly successful 'sleeper' hit starring Reese Witherspoon that charged ahead of Julia Roberts and the rest of 'America's Sweethearts' brigade.
Legally Blonde is, essentially, a kind of sorority sister to Clueless - indeed, if there had been a follow-up to that film, in which Cher Horowitz opted for a career in law, it might have looked something like this.
Witherspoon's impressive performances and offbeat film choices have always attracted attention, but her stock looks set to skyrocket on the strength of this outing.
The film looks to be in traditional territory when it kicks off, with Witherspoon's Elle every inch the stereotypically vapid Beverly Hills princess whose only ambition in life appears to be marriage to the similarly loaded Warner Huntington III (a splendidly arrogant Davis). When the romantic dinner at which she is convinced he will pop the question turns into a permanent termination of their relationship, our heartbroken heroine is forced to change tack and follow him to Harvard if she has any hope of winning him back.
This is where the action changes tack also, for rather than resorting to dumb humour or bawdy college comedy as Elle and her cute dog join the boringly conventional world of Harvard law, it shows her to be surprisingly resourceful. So, when the students become involved in the movie's inevitable big courtroom drama - the did-she-or-didn't-she? murder trial of a wealthy widow (Larter) - thereÆs no prizes for guessing who ends up arguing for the defence.
Essentially, it's Witherspoon's terrifically bubbly turn which holds proceedings together, but there's also some nice work from Wilson as the qualified lawyer who holds a candle for her. As Warner's fabulous bitchy new girlfriend, Blair eventually helps us to realise that, while it's probably better to be blonde, brunettes aren't so bad, after all.
It recreates its well-worn formula to winning effect.