Legally Blonde

Movie review by
Nell Minow, Common Sense Media
Legally Blonde Movie Poster Image
Fun romp has some sexual references and salty language.
  • PG-13
  • 2001
  • 96 minutes
Parents recommendPopular with kids

Parents say

age 12+
Based on 15 reviews

Kids say

age 11+
Based on 69 reviews

We think this movie stands out for:

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

There's more to a person than their outward appearance/behavior. Integrity and intelligence are more important than pleasing others. Doing something just to pursue a guy isn't worth it; you should do it for yourself.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Elle is very "girly" -- she likes fashion and talks about boyfriends -- but she also successfully demonstrates leadership, integrity, intelligence, and other qualities that some might consider traditionally masculine, which helps make her character distinct from being simply a "girly girl." She learns to value herself as an intellectual being, while holding onto her superficial (albeit comedic) roots. She's also kind to everyone she meets.

Violence

Some verbal bullying behavior from Paulette's ex-husband.

Sex

Sorority girls are shown in their (chaste) underwear as they get ready for their evenings. 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.

Language

Crude language includes "S--t," "t-ts," "ass," "a--hole," "balls," "bastard," "bitch," "boobs," "damn," "dammit," "Goddammit," "hell," "jerk," "piss," "prick," and "slut." 

Consumerism

The list of goodies is long and numerous since Elle and her friends go shopping to reward themselves. Cosmopolitan magazine, Clairol, Opi nail polish, Prada, Porsche, Harvard, Malibu Barbie, Apple products (Elle's ibook is very prominent), Taco Bell, Clinique, etc.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Lots of scenes in which college kids engage in casual drinking: keg parties, blender drinks, etc. Elle's dad always has a martini in hand. Elle shares a beer with Paulette.

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.).

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written bybirdvet April 9, 2008

Hated having to explain a lapdance to my daughter

This movie was chosen for a girl scout event (ages 12-15), based on the review from CSM. Weeks afterward, my husband and I watched the movie on TV, and were qui... Continue reading
Adult Written by3r2003 September 3, 2013

Not for 12-and-under viewing

Sure it's a fine movie, but a surprising amount of profanity and multiple sexual references throughout made LB inappropriate for our 10 year old daughter.... Continue reading
Teen, 15 years old Written bybubbo April 9, 2008

Funny

Corny? Yes. Guilty Pleasure? Definitely. Really really fun? HECK YES! 'Legally Blonde' is a really fun, entertaining, and frequently hilarious film... Continue reading
Teen, 14 years old Written byjazzyjammrz April 9, 2008

love this movie!

Reese Witherspoon always does good movies. There is very little language issues and no violence at all. This is a really fun chick flick! anyone 10+ can watc... Continue reading

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.

Luke Wilson as a young lawyer and Holland Taylor as an acerbic professor add some nice moments. And it is fun to see Raquel Welch in a cameo as a wealthy divorcée.

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?

Movie details

Character Strengths

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