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Legally Blonde: Special Edition

It's not that easy to simultaneously make fun of something and celebrate it, especially when that something is blonde, beautiful, breezy, and comes from Southern California. Amy Heckerling pulled it off perfectly in Clueless, and Peyton Reed did a pretty handy job with Bring It On. But the first director to take this self-aware "genre" of cute, clever films beyond high school is Robert Luketic. His Legally Blonde is the ultimate cotton candy movie — it's sweet, it's fluffy, and, boy, is it pink. Reese Witherspoon stars as Elle Woods, a Manolo Blahnik-wearing, tiny dog-toting, perfectly coiffed sorority sweetheart who is unceremoniously dumped by her Harvard Law-bound boyfriend Warner (Matthew Davis); seems ol' Warner wants someone a little more serious than Elle on his arm when he hits the East Coast (in his words, "I need a Jackie, not a Marilyn"). Determined to prove that she's just as brainy and sober as the preppiest prep school girl, Elle decides to go to law school too, and one sequined, suntanned admissions video later, she's on her way. But when she waltzes into Harvard, she promptly finds her popular, sunny self universally despised by the other snobby, over-achieving law students — including Warner's new brunette fiancé, Vivian (Selma Blair). Rather than head back to the land of sunshine, Elle sticks with it and ultimately shows that not only do blondes have more fun, but they also kick butt in the courtroom (and attract adorable associates like Luke Wilson's Emmett). Witherspoon is a perfect match for the sharp script from Karen McCullah Lutz and Kirsten Smith (based on the novel by Amanda Brown); in her Election-honed hands, Elle's chipper smile and chirpy voice are much more than the outer trappings of a stereotypical sorority girl. Witherspoon makes it clear that Elle is a girl whose heart is as gold as her hair; she's sweet, polite, and friendly, and she just doesn't understand why the Harvardites can't see beyond her fashion sense and perfect accessories to the smart, savvy girl she really is. MGM offers a special edition DVD of Legally Blonde that's as well-equipped as its heroine: The two-sided disc features a strong 2.35:1 anamorphic transfer (a standard version is also available); crisp, clean Dolby Digital 5.1 audio (other sound options include Spanish and French stereo, and English, French, and Spanish subtitles); and a fab collection of extras. Side one offers two full-length commentaries: The first a pleasantly chatty outing with Luketic, Witherspoon, and producer Marc Platt, the second a pastiche of short segments from six different crew members, including the screenwriters. Also available on side one of the disc is one of those increasingly popular "pop-up movie" trivia tracks. Flip the DVD over for the rest of the goodies: eight deleted scenes, a 21-minute "Inside Legally Blonde" making-of documentary, a nine-minute featurette called "The Hair that Ate Hollywood," a music video for Hoku's "Perfect Day," and trailers. Keep-case.
—Betsy Bozdech

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