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Legally Blondes

Director: Savage Steve Holland
Cast: Camilla Rosso, Rebecca Rosso

(MGM)

This straight-to-DVD cash-in has “don’t watch” written all over it. That’s the first lesson.


Ostensibly a sequel to the much-loved Reese Witherspoon series, this risible bit of amateurism features none of the characters, wit, or entertainment value of its progenitors (although it does come with a Witherspoon endorsement). Lesson two: Reese Witherspoon just might be an idiot.


What was cute, and mostly clever, in the original films is here replaced by an unexamined sexism and a series of contrivances that, instead of being fun, are merely annoying. Reese’s Elle was winning because she was both adorable and highly capable (and ultimately successful). That was the trick of the Legally Blonde films. It was about laughing at a caricature of a girly girl trying to make it in a man’s world, before finding (as do the man’s world representatives she’s up against) that the laugh was actually on us.


For all of her perfumed resumes and pink ensembles, Elle turns out to be a woman of substance and depth. It’s the old don’t-judge-a-book-by-its-cover deal, with a little post-feminist zaniness thrown in. It was all utterly preposterous, but at least it wasn’t lazy.


Not so for the obnoxiously-titled Legally Blondes. This is the story of a pair of fake-accented, blandly-pretty, and terminally perky teenaged twins who move with their daddy from England to Beverly Hills for some reason, only to find that they don`t quite fit in. (This is amazing – I have just discovered that these two young ladies were actually born in England, which means that their distractingly fake English accents are somehow real! The mind boggles!)


They are (here’s your tie-in) Elle’s cousins, and seem to suffer from the same genetic predisposition for pink-o-philia that she does. They enroll in a local school for the absurdly wealthy, and immediately run afoul of the headmistress (basically Himmler in a skirt) who (another tie-in!) harbors a deep-seated hatred for a former pupil, good old cousin Elle. Also, one of the teachers at this hateful academy is played by Booger from Revenge of the Nerds.


Basically, the rest of the film demonstrates that the two girls are having trouble adjusting to their new surroundings, while the boys in their class fall over themselves trying to get their hands on the girls, and the girls all compete to be the most hateful little bitches they can be. It’s all very charmless and unsophisticated and pointless and vile. You will hate these characters before you even get to know them. And your prejudice will be bang on. Is that a good lesson?


Why watch this film? I haven’t got a good answer to this pretty fundamental question. It isn’t funny, which is a bit of a problem for a comedy. It is frequently offensive and sexist – women and girls are either mean and petty or vapid and petty or materialistic and petty or vengeful and petty, and most boys are reduced to dicks with teeth – and the script offers us exactly zero rewards. People are mean to these twin Brits until they finally aren’t. So, the lesson? Be yourself. Blah, blah, and blah.


Another, perhaps more helpful, lesson might be: don’t be a materialistic, obnoxious, borderline robotic teenage girl with a hilariously fake accent (especially when you came by your accent honestly, because that’s just bizarre and unaccountable and difficult for your befuddled film reviewer to know what to do with).


Or, maybe this is the lesson: don’t waste time watching such low-grade movies because they make you angry and then a bit sad.

Rating:

Stuart Henderson is a culture critic and historian. He is the author of Making the Scene: Yorkville and Hip Toronto in the 1960s (University of Toronto Press, 2011). All of this is fun, but he'd rather be camping. Twitter: @henderstu


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