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Robert Luketic
Reese Witherspoon, Luke Wilson, Selma Blair
Writing Credits:
Karen McCullah, Kirsten Smith

When fashionable sorority queen follows her ex-boyfriend to law school, she discovers skills she didn't know she had.

Box Office:
$18 million.
Opening Weekend
$20,377,426 on 2620 screens.
Domestic Gross

Rated PG-13.

Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
English DTS-HD MA 5.1
English DTS-HD MA 2.0
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 95 min.
Price: $19.98
Release Date: 2/26/2019
Available As Part of 2-Film “Legally Blonde Collection”

• Audio Commentary With Director Robert Luketic, Producer Marc Platt and Actor Reese Witherspoon
• Audio Commentary With Cinematographer Anthony Richmond, Costume Designer Sophie de Rakoff Carbonell, Production Designer Melissa Stewart, Screenwriters Karen McCullah Lutz and Kirsten Smith and Animal Trainer Sue Chipperton
• Deleted Scenes
• “Inside Legally Blonde” Featurette
• “The Hair That Ate Hollywood” Featurette
• Interview with Actor Jessica Cauffiel
• Music Video
• Trailer


-LG OLED65C6P 65-Inch 4K Ultra HD Smart OLED TV
-Marantz SR7010 9.2 Channel Full 4K Ultra HD AV Surround Receiver
-Panasonic DMP-BD60K Blu-Ray Player
-Chane A2.4 Speakers
-SVS SB12-NSD 12" 400-watt Sealed Box Subwoofer


Legally Blonde (Legally Blonde Collection) [Blu-Ray] (2001)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (April 12, 2020)

In the US, 2001’s Legally Blonde earned about $96 million, and that placed it 22nd on the list of the year’s top-grossing flicks. However, I consider it to be one of the year’s bigger hits, all because of expectations.

Unlike big summer brethren like The Mummy Returns and Pearl Harbor, no one really thought Blonde would do much. It was a simple comedy without any big stars or much advance buzz.

However, it turned out to be the little flick that could, as it consistently raked in decent amounts of money for a reasonably long period of time. Most of the summer movies grabbed oodles of bucks in their opening weeks and then faltered badly, but Blonde just kept it coming, and with a budget of only $18 million, it made a sizable profit for MGM.

It’s hard not to root for a movie that rises above its modest origins, and I really wanted to like Blonde. I hoped that it would include more than just endless riffs on the same “fish out of water” theme.

However, for the most part, this doesn’t occur. Ultimately, Blonde offers a moderately enjoyable experience, but not one that does much to stand out from the crowd.

Reese Witherspoon stars as Elle Woods, a cute but apparently superficial college woman who cares mainly about clothes, parties, and her pre-law boyfriend Warner (Matthew Davis). At the start of the movie, all her sorority sisters swoon because they anticipate Warner will finally Pop the Question.

However, during a fancy dinner, he uses the occasion to formally dump Elle. He plans to be a politician someday, so he feels he needs a more “serious” spouse.

Devastated, Elle swears she’ll get him back, so she attempts to prove her devotion by accompanying him to Harvard Law School. For a number of reasons - most of which revolve around the tiny bikini she wears in her application video - she actually gets into this prestigious club, but the eternally perky and confident Elle soon finds that law school’s not all torts and motions.

Most of the other students quickly dismiss her as a dumb blonde, and Warner’s already moved on to more practical girlfriend, dour classmate Vivian Kensington (Selma Blair). Despondent but not down for the count, Elle redoubles her efforts to prove her worth, with results that won’t seem particularly surprising to the viewer.

Legally Blonde is a hard film to dislike because it doesn’t try to reinvent the wheel. The movie posits itself as little more than a light and frilly piece of comedic fluff with some basic “believe in yourself no matter what” messages tossed in as well.

However, while Blonde doesn’t need to provide anything unique, it at least should have tried to shine it up a little. Very little of the film attempts to stand out from other efforts of this sort, which means that it ultimately seems somewhat flat and lackluster. Oh, a number of the jokes work acceptably well, but the lack of inspiration seems clear, and the absence of much creativity causes some problems.

On the positive side of the ledger is the movie’s star, as Witherspoon offers some solid work as Elle. Witherspoon ensures that Elle actually has some life and dimensionality.

There’s an intelligence at work beneath the surface even when Elle seems shallow, and Witherspoon fleshes out the cartoony character into a reasonably real human being. She adds a wide variety of small flourishes that make Elle much more entertaining than she should have been.

These touches mean that Blonde works better during additional viewings than I expected. I noticed a lot of small moments that slipped by initially, and Witherspoon was a consistent delight.

The remaining cast members can’t bring much depth to their roles, but none of them cause any problems, and they generally seem solid. Davis appears suitably oily as Warner, and Blair manages a hissable coldness as Vivian. As Elle’s semi-mentor and obvious eventual suitor, Luke Wilson comes across as fairly dull, but he feels appropriately charming at times and we can sort of see why Elle would be interested in him.

Director Robert Luketic does little to enliven the proceedings, but he fails to harm the film either. The movie progresses in the expected manner and functions in almost exactly the way one might anticipate.

In the end, it works reasonably well, largely due to the winning presence of Reese Witherspoon. Nonetheless, Legally Blonde lacks the spark that might make it a more exceptional piece of work.

The Disc Grades: Picture B-/ Audio B-/ Bonus B

Legally Blonde appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.35:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. The movie came with a competent but lackluster presentation.

For the most part, sharpness felt appealing. Occasional instances of mild softness impacted some wide shots and interiors, but the majority of the movie provided reasonably positive clarity.

No issues with jagged edges or moiré effects appeared, and I saw no edge haloes. With a nice layer of grain, I didn’t suspect noise reduction, but a few small print flaws occasionally marred the image.

Blonde offered a varied palette, but the colors never really excelled. While they seemed pretty good, they lacked the punch I expected.

Blacks were fairly dark and tight, while shadows appeared smooth and clear. Nothing really went wrong with this image, but it didn’t bring much punch or sparkle.

Most comedies maintain subdued soundtracks, and the DTS-HD MA 5.1 mix of Legally Blonde fell into that category, as the soundfield remained largely anchored in the front realm. The forward channels provided decent stereo imaging for music and effects, as sounds appeared in the appropriate locations and blended together efficiently.

Not a lot of movement occurred across the speakers, but the mix seemed reasonably well integrated nonetheless. As for the surrounds, they offered light reinforcement of music and effects at most. Frankly, I usually wasn’t really aware of much information from the rears, as the mix really did stick strongly with the front speakers.

Although the soundfield seemed bland, the quality of the audio helped compensate for any shortcomings. Dialogue appeared consistently natural and distinct, and I detected no problems related to edginess or intelligibility.

Effects played a minor role in the film, but they sounded accurate and clean, with reasonable presence and no signs of distortion. Music worked fairly well, as the score and the pop tunes presented good clarity.

Highs seemed crisp and bright, while bass was acceptably rich and warm. In the end, the audio was nothing special, but it suited the film well.

How did the Blu-ray compare to the original DVD? The lossless audio offered a bit more warmth, while visuals showed improved accuracy and vivacity. Though the DVD looked good for its format and era, the BD acted as an upgrade, even if it suffered from its own drawbacks.

The Blu-ray repeats most of the DVD’s extras, and we start with two separate audio commentaries. The first comes from director Robert Luketic, actor Reese Witherspoon, and producer Marc Platt.

All three sit together for this running, screen-specific track. Many audio commentaries suffer from an overabundance of happy talk, and this one’s no different.

Not that it totally lacks any information, as the track adds some interesting notes about the production. We hear about deleted scenes and various production challenges along the way.

However, the profusion of praise really seems to dominate the commentary, as much of the time we simply learn how great everyone and everything was. The track offers some decent data, but it feels like a thoroughly average piece as a whole.

The second commentary features a mix of crewmembers, as we hear from costume designer Sophie de Rakoff Carbonell, production designer Melissa Stewart, director of photography Anthony B. Richmond, screenwriters Karen McCullah Lutz and Kirsten Smith, and animal trainer Sue Chipperton. This commentary used an unusual form of construction.

Here’s how it works: the track starts with remarks from Richmond. After a period of time, he departs - literally.

His comments don’t just cease - he says “goodbye” and the next participant, Stewart, enters the scene. After a little while, Carbonell joins her, and eventually Chipperton sits in with the pair for a few minutes. They then split, and Lutz and Smith hop in to finish the film.

This set-up works acceptably well, though I definitely prefer the standard format for edited commentaries. It seems more effective to gather remarks from all the participants and then drop them in at appropriate times.

The way this one goes, the speakers don’t necessarily have much to say at particular points. As such, we occasionally encounter a few semi-lengthy pauses, especially during Richmond’s portion.

Overall, though, the commentary provides a generally decent discussion. This one includes more useful information than found in the first track, though it still tended toward happy talk much of the time.

The notes from the screenwriters are definitely the best parts of the commentary. They relate details about how the modified the original novel and lots of changes made to the original script.

They also talk about some of their less compelling ideas and provide a fun look at their work. Ultimately, the second commentary seems good but still fairly average.

Eight Deleted Scenes span a total of nine minutes, 45 seconds, and most of these also come with opening comments from Luketic. As a whole, these clips are worth a look, but there’s nothing terribly memorable about them.

It seems obvious why most were omitted, as none of them add anything to the film. Luketic’s brief intros confirm these thoughts, as he quickly discusses the reasons why the snippets didn’t make the final cut.

Inside Legally Blonde gives us a pretty standard promotional “making of” program. The 21-minute, 37-second piece provides notes from producer Marc Platt, novelist Amanda Brown, screenwriters Karen McCullah Lutz and Kirsten Smith, director Luketic, and actors Witherspoon, Matt Davis, Victor Garber, Holland Taylor, Selma Blair, Jennifer Coolidge, and Jessica Cauffiel.

In the spirit of the film itself, “Inside” keeps things light and fluffy, but it actually provides a reasonable amount of decent information. The appearance of novelist Brown is a welcome addition, as it’s interesting to hear her point of view firsthand.

Otherwise, many of the notes stay in the “everything’s great!” vein, and the emphasis clearly remains glossy and promotional, but I felt the show was acceptably interesting.

The Hair That Ate Hollywood offers a nine-minute look at blondeness. Another featurette similar to “Inside”, this one brings interviews with Luketic, key hairstylist Joy Zapata, hair color director Nancy Braun, screenwriters Karen McCullah Lutz and Kirsten Smith, producer Marc Platt, Reese Witherspoon, and hair colorist Dawn Ellinwood.

They provide a discussion of the joys of being blonde, with some notes about hair color in general and its use in the film. We also get a catalog of all 40 - that’s right, 40! - hairstyles worn by Witherspoon in the flick.

Wow - that’s an average of a new ‘do every two minutes and 24 seconds! “Hair” becomes a pleasant little piece but nothing special.

New to this 2019 Blu-ray, we find an Interview with Actor Jessica Cauffiel. During this 13-minute, 31-second chat, she discusses her casting and her character as well as her performance and the production. Cauffiel brings us an engaging, informative piece.

Finally we find the theatrical trailer for Blonde and a music video for Hoku’s “Perfect Day”. The clip lasts three minutes, 26 seconds. “Perfect Day” is an innocuous but reasonably bright little pop song, and Hoku’s fairly easy on the eyes.

A quiet female-oriented comedy amidst a rash of loud action flicks, 2001’s Legally Blonde pulled in surprisingly solid box office numbers and emerged as its season’s sleeper hit. The movie lacks much depth or general spark, but Reese Witherspoon provides a terrific lead performance that helps make the movie enjoyable. The Blu-ray brings decent picture and audio along with a fairly good mix of bonus materials. Nothing here excels, but the movie offers breezy entertainment.

Note that this Blu-ray of Legally Blonde comes as part of a 2-disc “Legally Blonde Collection”. This package pairs it with 2003’s Legally Blonde 2.

To rate this film, visit the DVD review of LEGALLY BLONDE

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