Legally Blonde Turns 20 – How Well Does It Hold Up?
The pop culture classic law movie ‘Legally Blonde’ has grown up, turning 20 this month. But how well has it held up after all those years?
The movie hit the high spots as Reese Witherspoon’s character Elle Woods takes on a juris doctor at Harvard Law School in order to get back her boyfriend, as you do.
In the true tradition of the girl-get-the-boy-and-the-top-law-degree, Witherspoon captured hearts and box office dollars in the movie, also receiving a nomination for a Golden Globe Best Actress and for Best Picture.
“>a short clip of herself lounging on a pool floatie in what looked like the same pink sequin bikini she wore in the first movie. “It’s true… #LegallyBlonde3,” she captioned the post.
Omigod you guys ….#LegallyBlonde premiered 20 years ago TODAY! Time flies when you’re busy using legal jargon in your every day life. 😆 But truly… playing Elle Woods was the role of a life time and I’m so honored to have been a part of sharing her story with you all. Every meme, graduation cap, musical number, halloween costume and bend & snap has brought me so much JOY over these past two decades! 💕 I wonder… what will Elle do next?
📸: thank you @mgmstudios for these rare behind the scenes photos!
In May 2020, it was announced “Legally Blonde 3” was officially in the works, with Mindy Kaling and Dan Goor signed on to help write the film. The film’s original producers, Marc Platt and Adam Siegel, are also involved. Witherspoon will be reprising her role as Elle Woods and Jennifer Coolidge as Paulette Bonafonté.
Last month, the New York Times published a lengthy retrospective about Legally Blonde to commemorate the occasion with writer Ilana Kaplan had to say:
It’s been 20 years since Elle [Woods], against all odds, got into Harvard Law, fended off a professor’s advances and came to the legal defense of a sorority alumna. She remains an emblem for challenging stereotypes and embracing female empowerment in the face of misogyny. By refuting the “dumb blonde” trope, Elle has become beloved for her sincerity and her insistence on unapologetically being herself.
In 2021, “Legally Blonde” is more relevant than ever. Years before the #MeToo and Time’s Up movements, the Robert Luketic-directed comedy tackled workplace sexual misconduct and power dynamics. High-profile fans like Ariana Grande and Kim Kardashian (who each paid homage to it in videos) have stoked its legacy, as has a 2003 sequel (and a third movie due next year), as well as a Broadway adaptation.
For the NYT article, Kaplan interviewed the stars and screenwriters of the film and unearthed some interesting nuggets—alternative endings they entertained, other actors they considered casting, and lines that wound up on the cutting room floor. Like this one:
Originally, there was a line when [Elle’s friend] Serena says, “What’s the one thing that always makes us feel better no matter what?” And I say, “Cunnilingus.” That was actually a line in the film.
As you might recall, in the finished film this got turned into… “a manicure.”
So is Legally Blonde “more relevant than ever,” as the Times contends?