Archive for Chutney Windham

Legally Blonde

Posted in Chick Flicks, Comedy, Movie Reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 31, 2009 by Mystery Man

PLOT:

Elle Woods (Reese Witherspoon) is portrayed as the typical pampered rich girl, growing up in Bel Air, across the street from Aaron Spelling. She is president of her sorority, Delta Nu, at the fictitious CULA, the California University of Los Angeles. Nearing graduation, Elle expects her Harvard Law School-bound boyfriend, Warner Huntington III (Matthew Davis), to propose, but he instead breaks up with her, insisting that she is not “serious” and would hinder his political future. Elle later finds out that Warner’s brother, Putnam Bowes Huntington III, is marrying Muffy Walker Vanderbilt, also a Yale law student. Crushed, Elle decides the only way to way to win Warner back is to attend Harvard Law School. With an exceptional LSAT score (179), a 4.0 GPA (albeit achieved as a fashion merchandising major), and a confident application video featuring her in a bikini, Elle’s application materials manage to convince the admissions board to grant her admission.

At Harvard, Elle is initially met with hostility and skepticism of her abilities, and she finds Warner is already engaged to fellow law student Vivian Kensington (Selma Blair). Vivian reluctantly invites Elle to a party, but tells her it is a costume party (which it is not) to humiliate her. Though she shows up dressed as a Playboy bunny, Elle is unfazed. She confronts Warner and finds that his perception of her is unaffected by her accomplishments.

Spurred by his dismissive remarks, Elle immerses herself in her studies and becomes a top student in her class. She still finds it hard to be taken seriously, although Emmett Richmond (Luke Wilson), the trial assistant of Callahan (Victor Garber), one of Elle’s professors, is friendly to her and recognizes her potential. She also forms a bond with hair stylist Paulette, who has recently been through a divorce, giving Paulette advice on attracting the attention of the postage guy she is interested in and also using her legal knowledge to allow Paulette to regain custody of her dog from her ex-husband.

Along with Warner and Vivian, Elle is hired as an intern at Callahan’s firm. They are assigned the case of defending a young woman, Brooke Taylor Windham (Ali Larter), accused of murdering her wealthy husband. Windham is coincidentally a former member of Elle’s sorority and a famous fitness instructor, facts that convince Elle of her innocence (Her reasoning being that exercise produces endorphins, and endorphins make you happy, so happy people don’t shoot their husbands). Her stepdaughter and the household’s “cabana boy” Enrique Salvatore (Greg Serano) attest to finding Windham standing over her husband’s dead body, Enrique even claiming to have had an affair with her.

After Windham refuses Callahan’s request for an alibi, Elle visits her in jail where she confides that she was having liposuction at the time of her husband’s death. Worried that this would destroy her reputation as a fitness guru, she asks that Elle keep the alibi secret. Elle complies despite pressure from Callahan. Vivian is extremely impressed that Elle kept the alibi, and the two start to become friends, Vivian even admiting that Warner only got into Harvard because his father pulled some strings.

Elle has more and more success with her trial, using her knowledge of the fashion world and intuition to help her move closer to winning the trial, most notably when deducing that Enrique is gay after he correctly identifies her shoe style; straight men have no clue about fashion. Callahan has a private discussion with Elle after a session. To her disgust, he reveals he finds her attractive and begins to caress her thigh. Elle angrily storms out, is met by Vivian, who witnessed Callahan touching Elle’s leg, and lashes out at her. Convinced that she will never be taken seriously, Elle decides to quit and return to California. Emmett attempts to encourage her, but Elle’s spirits are still crushed and she retreats to the salon to bid farewell to Paulette the hairstylist, who has become her friend. At the salon she encounters another of her teachers, Professor Stromwell, who further encourages her, saying “If you’re going to let one stupid pig ruin your life, you’re not the girl I thought you were”. With her confidence returned, Elle decides to return to court. Windham fires Callahan and hires Elle as her new attorney (with Emmett, who is a licensed attorney, supervising).

During her cross-examination, the victim’s daughter, Chutney Windham (Linda Cardellini), claims to have been taking a shower at the time of the murder, but Elle argues that having had her hair permed that day, a shower would have deactivated the ammonium thioglycolate and would have ruined her curls, which are nevertheless still intact. Badgered by Elle’s aggressive questioning, the daughter finally breaks down in tears and confesses to accidentally shooting her father, believing he was her stepmother, whom she resented for being the same age as she. With this, she is arrested and Brooke is cleared of all charges.

The end of the film shows that Elle graduated from Harvard as the class-elected speaker of her graduate class with high honors, and she has been recommended to one of the country’s most successful law firms. Now Elle’s best friend, Vivian has called off her engagement to Warner, who graduates with no honors or any prestigious job offers. Paulette is now the postage guy’s girlfriend, and they are expecting a baby which they will name Elle. Emmett, now Elle’s boyfriend of two years, is revealed to be planning to propose to Elle the night of the graduation.

REVIEW:

Normally a film with all this pink would turn me off automatically. However, I was pleasantly surprised with this picture.

Reese Witherspoon really came into her own with this role. She is the perfect choice for the role because of her innocent beauty and acting skills…too bad her Broadway counterparts don’t stack up as well.

Luke Wilson is a little underused here, at least until the end, but when he does have the chance to steal some screen time, he makes the most of it.

Victor Garber always seems to be playing a lawyer. In just about everything I’ve seen him in, excluding Titanic, Cinderella, and the recent TV movie The Last Templar, he’s been a lawyer. I’m not saying that there’s anything wrong with that. Just making an observation.

Jennifer Coolidge is quite welcome when she is introduced to the audience and endears herself to us as the film goes on, especially after her failed bend and snap knocks out her dream UPS guy and breaks his nose.

This is a very enjoyable film. When I first heard about it, I assumed it was some sort of romantic comedy, but I was wrong. Granted, its not the oddball comedy that I tend to go for, but it is pretty funny and has something for everyone.

4 1/2 out of 5 stars

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