The mighty New York Times has weighed in on the just-opened Broadway musical version of “Legally Blonde,” and it's not a pretty review.
Snark drips off the opening lines: “Flossing between songs is recommended for anyone who attends 'Legally Blonde,' the nonstop sugar rush of a show that opened last night at the Palace Theater, joining the ranks of such nearby temples to candy worship as the M&M and Hershey’s theme stores.”
It's a “high-energy, empty-calories and expensive-looking hymn to the glories of girlishness [that] approximates the experience of eating a jumbo box of Gummi Bears in one sitting,” says critic Ben Brantley.
He also rips into its young star: “The movie had one overwhelming advantage in its leading lady, Reese Witherspoon--or more specifically, Ms. Witherspoon’s square chin and everything it signifies: grit, smarts, a will to dominate and that soupçon of freakishness that separates a star-in-the-making from the professional beauties.
“The musical has Laura Bell Bundy, the kind of young woman who summons instant parental pride in the middle-aged. In addition to her prom-queen prettiness, she sings and dances flawlessly, and she delivers silly lines as if she meant them. But she lacks the quirkiness and irresistible watch-me egotism that a big, heroine-worshiping musical needs at its center. Imagine 'Hello, Dolly!' with Shirley Jones instead of Carol Channing, and you’ll get the idea.”
Mr. Brantley did like some parts of it--mostly the choreography and the supporting cast. Of one of them, he says: “The actress playing one of [a Greek chorus of sorority sisters], Leslie Kritzer, has an original satiric vibrancy that Ms. Bundy could use more of.”
I smell a catfight backstage!
Oh, well. Ms. Bundy should know how to dispel the bad-review blues. As Elle Woods herself would say, just bend--and snap!
PLUS: More pics and a clip from the soundtrack here.
[photo: Sara Krulwich/The New York Times]