Legally Blondes (2009) / Comedy
MPAA Rated: PG for brief mild language
Running time: 83 min.
Cast: Rebecca Rosso, Camilla Rosso, Brittany Curran, Chad Broskey, Bobby Campo, Chloe Bridges, Kunal Sharma
Director: Savage Steve Holland
Screenplay: Chad Gomez Creasey, Dara Resnik Creasey
This Reese Witherspoon-less, straight-to-video release (though she has consented for her name to be used on the box for the film) is, like nearly all STV sequels, an attempt to squeeze whatever cash still remains for a franchise that has enough fans left to rent or buy the DVD in the hope of rekindling their feelings watching the theatrically released films, or to just complete their collection of the series. Certainly, based on the effort put forth here, it's not in order to get a few laughs, as there are none to be had for the entire running length. Although there are some references to the Elle Woods character that come up, this is mostly a standalone film that is only kin to its predecessors in that the main characters are blonde, more into fashion than scholarly pursuits, have pet Chihuahuas, and love the color pink.
This spin-off has British twins Isabelle and Annabelle Woods (real-life twins Becky and Milly Rosso play Izzy and Annie), cousins of Legally Blonde's Elle Woods, coming to the United States and attending the same school as Elle's. They have trouble fitting in, especially as they have drawn the jealous ire of the school's popular battleaxe, Tiffany Donahugh (Curran, Monster House), who discovers that their partial scholarship leaves them vulnerable to expulsion in the school's voluminous rule book, and aims to get them to break a rule, even if she has to frame them for it.
Call me silly, but I had a small hope that Legally Blondes might actually turn out to be somewhat interesting due to the fact that it is directed by Savage Steve Holland, who made one of the 1980s more popular cult comedies, Better Off Dead. However, then I remembered that none of his other efforts (mostly juvenile television fare) of the last 25 years come close to that film in terms of comedic value or even cult following, but at least his bad films had more personality than most. Legally Blondes is an exception, as it is so bland and lifeless, it feels like it could have been directed by a first-timer, adhering to its sitcom-premised script with mild jokes and a plot that shouldn't ever be seen out of a Disney Channel original movie (indeed, the three leads are all alums of Disney TV's "The Suite Life of Zack and Cody," and the film is to be aired on the basic cable network, ABC Family).
Unlike the previous two entries, Legally Blondes goes for the family fare crowd, being the first of the films to have a PG rating -- and a mild one at that. Perhaps your normally disapproving grandma may like this the best of the bunch for not offending her sensibilities, but fans of the series may have a gripe, as the producers of this pile of leftovers seem to think that it's the blonde jokes, fashion sense, shopping addiction, and snarky attitude that makes for comedic material and not anything to do with crisp writing and funny situations. The plot is the same teen premise you've seen dozens of times before, except set in a college, where the new kids have a hard time fitting in, making instant enemies with the popular crowd, then bonding with the nerdy kids until they get their revenge on the snooty socialites and become heroes.
If you were one of the fans who thought the first movie should have been the only one, especially after seeing the disappointing Legally Blonde 2, this batch of very unfunny leftovers definitely will confirm your conclusions. This one's pretty much for viewers who regularly feast on tween TV, aiming for cute at all times, and hoping it can be just innocuous enough not to offend anyone. This means that there will be no attempt at original humor, going for tried, true, and trite. The only thing new here is the chirping from not one, but two "Elle Woods" types with British accents, showcasing its stereotypical fashionistas in stereo fashion.
-- Preceded by Legally Blonde and Legally Blonde 2: Red, White & Blonde
©2009 Vince Leo