A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Legally Blonde is a tongue-in-cheek comedy starring Reese Witherspoon. While it's clearly a girl-power story in the end, it does have some sexual references and stereotyping. There are references to lap dances, body parts, wet T-shirt contests, and long interludes in the hot tub. Elle's professor makes a pass at her. Elle's sorority life in California is all about mani-pedis, Prada shoes, and snagging the right guy. She decides to go to Harvard for the wrong reasons -- following a guy -- but she ultimately learns to value her brains, even if she continues to celebrate her successes with a shopping spree. There's college drinking and some profanity ("s--t," "t-ts," "ass," "a--hole," "balls," "bastard," "bitch," etc.).
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
In LEGALLY BLONDE, adorable Southern California sorority girl Elle Woods (Reese Witherspoon) is about to graduate with a major in fashion marketing. Her life seems perfect. Her biggest challenge is what to wear for what she thinks will be a marriage proposal from her beau, Warner Huntington III (Matthew Davis). But he has another idea. He has decided to break up with her before he leaves for Harvard Law School, because she's not they right type to help him in his political career. Elle decides that the only way to get him back is to join him at Harvard. So, she studies hard, aces the LSATs, and, with the help of a very unique videotaped application essay, she is admitted. Her new classmates are skeptical and tease her. Worst of all, Warner is engaged to a girl who looks like an ad for Town and Country magazine. They won't let her study with them and they play a cruel joke on her. But Elle surprises them all -- and even herself -- by becoming a first class law student and a first class lawyer while staying true to herself. She ends up defending a murder suspect with whom she has a special rapport and conducting a cross-examination that would impress Perry Mason.
Is it any good?
This courtroom comedy might not reach the heights of the sublime My Cousin Vinny, but it comes pretty close. Witherspoon is a treasure. She makes Elle completely believable as a delectable California girl with spirit and brains even she did not realize. Witherspoon and the art direction (even the credits have i's dotted with hearts) keep things bubbly even when Legally Blonde's script falters into predictability.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about why Elle did not have higher aspirations for herself at the beginning of Legally Blonde, and the role her parents played in shaping the way she thought about her future.
Talk about Elle's choice to keep her client's secret, even when it put her defense at risk, and about the mistakes people make when they judge other people based on appearances. What made Elle succeed when more experienced lawyers did not?
What did the way Elle responded to a practical joke show us about her?
- In theaters: July 13, 2001
- On DVD or streaming: November 6, 2001
- Cast: Luke Wilson, Reese Witherspoon, Selma Blair
- Director: Robert Luketic
- Studio: MGM/UA
- Genre: Comedy
- Character Strengths: Integrity
- Run time: 96 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG-13
- MPAA explanation: some crude humor and language
- Last updated: September 21, 2019
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