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'Blonde' courts amusing plot

Manufacturers bottle it. Hairdressers profit from it. Barbie's signature look wouldn't be the same without it. And as a brunette, I confess, I too have yearned for it.

Blond hair. It's been the envy of many a girl and the object of many a gentleman's desire. And as director Robert Luketic proves in his new movie, "Legally Blonde," even the ditziest of blondes can survive the rigors of Harvard Law School - sort of.

Enter Reese Witherspoon as blond sorority girl supreme. She's a fashion expert and cell phone-toting California girl whose credits include homecoming queen, fraternity sweetheart and Miss Hawaiian Tropic. She's got everything - that is, except an engagement ring.

Elle's Harvard-bound beau Warner Huntington III (Matthew Davis) crushes Elle's dreams of becoming Mrs. Huntington III when he decides she's too much Marilyn and not enough Jackie to make a good senator's wife.

Audiences may have to use their imaginations a little to believe the buxom beauty queen actually manages to score a 179 out of 180 on the test to follow Warner to Harvard, but the audience's willingness to allow Elle to trade her stereotypically blond image for that of someone more intelligent serves as the basis for the entire film.

As the movie progresses, Elle sheds her superficiality, becoming more endearing and real to her onlookers. As much as brunettes hate being pigeonholed into the image of plain and spunkless, Elle, constantly judged by her appearance, proves that being blond isn't always a cup of tea.

 
Quick Cut
"Legally Blonde"
Starring: Reese Witherspoon
Grade: B

Witherspoon has just the right combination of naivete and wide-eyed enthusiasm to make the role work. Despite her character's striking similarity to Cher Horowitz of "Clueless," Witherspoon has what it takes to make her audience sympathize with the girl who has it all.

In the role of Warner's dark-haired fiancee Vivian, Selma Blair is about as far away from a blond vixen as you can get. With severe brows, sweater vests and a rock on her ring finger, she's the antithesis to the sunny Elle.

Vivian may be an ice queen, but she softens with time - a surprising twist in the film, considering most of the dark-haired women in the movie are portrayed as inherently evil.

"Legally Blonde" is a humorous and entertaining movie. It's a fun summer flick with a fun idea. Unfortunately, like the stereotypical image it attempts to disprove, it fails to delve below the surface.

Elle may become more accepted into a community of academics, save the day in court and win Warner's heart back, but ultimately, her accomplishments and the adoration she receives because of them are a result of her achieving them as a blonde.

The film's script may not be Oscar-worthy or particularly deep and it relies on cliches and obvious punch lines, but it does portray a lifelong sorority girl who means well in her attempts to bring justice to the world.

Elle wants to become more than what she describes as a "future Victoria's Secret model," even though she can't always break free from what others have labeled her.

Whether she succeeds at escaping her inevitable blond persona is questionable. We do know, however, that she has fun in the process. And even as a brunette who's supposed to be serious and unsmiling, I did too.

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