A Fact-Check for the Four-Color World

Saturday, August 12, 2006

OT: "Legally Blonde"

While looking over old posts from my defunct personal blog, I came across a brief legal look I took at the film Legally Blonde. It's nothing even remotely technical, but rather some broad errors that threw me out of the film. And since I've been talking about the law in a particular movie as of late, I thought I'd share this as something extra.


Since I just finished law school, it seemed like as good a time as any to watch the GenX version of "The Paper Chase," "Legally Blonde." I'd heard mostly good things about it over the past couple of years, but it mostly disappointed.

I could complain about the smaller leaps of logic in the film (e.g. first-year students assisting on a major murder defense), but I'll let those fly. Although I thought Elle's boyfriend was a jerk from the moment he dumped her, I'll let that issue go too. And while the subplot with the manicurist was mostly pointless, it didn't hurt anything.

No, my chief two problems with the film were these. First, Elle's performance on the LSAT. The LSAT is scored on a scale from 120 to 180. When we see her taking a practice test, she gets a 143. That's a pretty middle-of-the-road score. The next scene has her getting her final score, a 179. One point shy of perfect. That was some miraculous studying inbetween those scenes. And yet that score pretty much never gets mentioned again, despite all of the talk of her vapidness. Her fellow law students treat her as if she's inferior, but a score of 179 would be better than 90% of them, even at Harvard.

Second, Elle's performance in the courtroom at the end is, I suppose, to illustrate her unexpected intelligence and grasp of the law. But she hardly said or did anything legal at all. She recognized a hair-care error in the witness's story (I know virtually nothing about hair, and even I saw the problem immediately), and then the witness broke down and gave an on-the-stand confession. Then everyone praises Elle for being a legal genius. If that's all it takes to be a legal icon at Harvard, maybe I should've gone there instead of staying in-state.

The film had its moments, but for legal comedies, I'll stick with "My Cousin Vinny."