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.”

Ouch!

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]

11 comments:

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...

leo,

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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