Monday, April 30, 2007

Legally bland

Laura Bell Bundy as Elle Woods in “Legally Blonde,” the musical

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]


Leo said...

hi gibbs - a friendly advise. when referring to anything theater and its music, 'soundtrack' is not really appropriate.. it's a cast recording, if you are speaking about tis music. just don't want a nasty show queen to comment to you about it...

gibbs cadiz said...

you're right, LEO, cast recording it is. excuse the sloppiness. :) gracias.

Leo said...

no biggie, except that you never know when some vicious queen will comment...

Anonymous said...


hey, if it's no biggie and your concern is genuine about the so-called "nasty queen"---

you should have emailed gibbs in private and not have flaunted to the entire blog community your so-called concern.

i think you just want the whole world that you scored a point against gibbs. he-he

in my book, you're one of the members of the royal nasty family.


snglguy said...

Now why would they turn an otherwise so-so (ok, brainless it is) movie into a stage musical?

aj said...

nice blog! ;)

Maryanne Moll said...

"So Much Better" is cute, though. I even downloaded it. Maybe I ought to start writing some chick lit.

Laura said...

Oh, it's Ben Brantley. He did a similar snarking to Thoroughly Modern Millie and to Sutton Foster, who eventually won the Tony for her role in Millie. I guess you really just can't please everyone.

Anyway, majority of the people watch musicals for entertainment, not to dissect it. From the way Brantley wrote it, Legally Blonde may sound a bit inane, but it does still seem like a lot of fun.

gibbs cadiz said...

ey ANONYMOUS, let it go. :) but thanks. :)

hi SNGLGUY, i actually liked the movie version! fluff, but hugely enjoyable. :)

thanks, AJ!

ey MARYANNE, yep, i listened to it on youtube, it sounded okay. perky bubblegum ditty. :) haha, i know people from summit publishing, if you're serious about the chick lit bit. :)

ey LAURA, thanks for your comments. i agree, ben brantley may be a harder person to please, but that's what critics are for, i believe: more than the snarking, it's the sense they provide that one can always do better. :)

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