2001 Certificate: 12


Reese Witherspoon is a fully accessorised force of nature as Elle, the dumped but determined optimist who breezes her way into Harvard Law School to win back her shallow boyfriend. Of course nobody takes the sorority queen seriously... but the judicial system is in for a big pink shock. Think Pollyanna with a better line of credit as Witherspoon does comic wonders for the fair-haired cause.


  • Robert Luketic


  • Reese Witherspoon

  • Luke Wilson

  • Selma Blair

  • Matthew Davis

  • Victor Garber


Elle Woods (Witherspoon) has all the appearances and accessories of the archetypal all-American girl.

She's the president of her sorority, a Hawaiian Tropic girl, Miss June in her campus calendar and - the cherry on the cake - a natural blonde.

The top Valley Girl dates Warner (Davis, lately of TV's The Vampie Diaries and Damages) - the cutest fraternity boy on campus - and her intention is to become Mrs Warner Huntington III.

However, there is one problem. Warner is blue-blooded East Coast (think the Kennedys), while Elle is dyed-in-the-wool West Coast (think Pamela Anderson with brains).

His family think the thing to be done is hobnobbing in the Hamptons... her's think it's enough just to live across the street from Aaron Spelling.

Warner can't make things appear any clearer when he packs up for Harvard Law School and hooks up with a "more suitable" old sweetheart from prep school.

Elle - in a move that sets the American feminist movement back decades - rallies her resources and gets a place in Harvard in order to win him back.

Predictably, she stands out a bit in the hallowed halls of Harvard - what with her fuzzy pink phone and pet chihuahua, Bruiser.

As well as the pompous brainboxes (who sneer at her pink, heart-shaped jotter), Elle also has to contend with Warner's new gal - the sober Vivian Kensington (Hellboy squeeze Selma Blair).

This Pollyanna-style tale is a popular theme in America and that it succeeds is largely down to the excellent Witherspoon.

She showed her comedic mettle in the sublime Election and maintains her edge, to give what is an essentially shallow character real depth.

Compared to the vastly inferior American Pie 2, some of the jokes are pretty sophisticated and the usual fish-out-of-water cliches are nearly circumnavigated.