I don’t know what the moral of this campus comedy-cum-murder mystery might be, except that you can never know too much about designer clothes and hair-care products. Elle Woods, played by the legally adorable Reese Witherspoon, is a blond cream puff at the fictional California University at Los Angeles. She thinks only of pedicures, pink outfits, her sorority sisters and marrying Warner Huntington (Matt Davis). So when Warner dumps Elle for the preppy, pearl-wearing Vivian Kensington (Selma Blair) and heads to Harvard Law School, Elle enrolls as well. She’s smarter than she looks (a lesson the film belabors) and has the good sense to hire a Coppola to direct her admissions video.
First-time director Robert Luketic’s heavy hand with sitcom farce strains credulity and patience, notably in a scene in which law student Elle plays Perry Mason. But the script, by Karen McCullah Lutz and Kirsten Smith (Ten Things I Hate About You), gets off a few zingers, and Witherspoon — though miles from the keen satire of Election — stays one sharp cookie even as her film crumbles.