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Video / DVD: Video Rewind

Spoonfuls of video treats

[Photo: MGM]
Reese Witherspoon is a sorority girl who makes a splash at Harvard Law School in Legally Blonde.

Reese Witherspoon, who seems equally at home with comic and dramatic roles, can be enjoyed in an impressive menu of video delights.

By PHILIP BOOTH, Times Staff Writer
© St. Petersburg Times
published February 6, 2003

Reese Witherspoon, star of Sweet Home Alabama, released last week on video, has worked her way up the Hollywood ladder since 1991, when she landed a role as a love-stricken teenager in The Man in the Moon. Expectations are high for the box-office success of Legally Blonde 2, starring Witherspoon and slated for release later this year.

The Louisiana native, a descendant of a signer of the Declaration of Independence, studied English literature at Stanford University before leaving to pursue her film career and marrying fellow actor Ryan Phillippe in 1999.

Academia's loss is the movies' gain, as demonstrated by Witherspoon's performance in the following comedies and dramas, all available on home video.

The Importance of Being Earnest (2002) -- Witherspoon is the charming Miss Cecily Cardew, a millionaire's granddaughter in love with a dandyish, unreliable man of the world played by Rupert Everett in this Oliver Parker-directed adaptation of the Oscar Wilde play. The first-rate cast includes Colin Firth, Judi Dench, Frances O'Connor, Tom Wilkinson, Anna Massey and Edward Fox.

Legally Blonde (2001) -- A ditzy blond Southern California sorority queen (Witherspoon), dumped by her smug boyfriend (Matthew Davis), gets revenge the old-fashioned way -- by following him to Harvard Law School. Witherspoon, as usual, is better than the movie. Also stars Selma Blair, Holland Taylor and Luke Wilson.

Little Nicky (2000) -- Witherspoon has a brief role as a Valley Girl-talking angel who brags about her friendship with God. Adam Sandler stars in this patently unfunny, relentlessly juvenile movie about an aging Satan (Harvey Keitel) attempting to decide which of his sons (Sandler, Ryhs Ifans or Tommy "Tiny" Lister Jr.) should rule Hades.

American Psycho (2000) -- This controversial, mean-spirited adaptation of the toxic Bret Easton Ellis novel has Witherspoon playing the fiancee of an unlikely serial killer (Christian Bale). Willem Dafoe plays a detective on the murderer's trail in this gory, glorified slasher movie.

Election (1999) -- Witherspoon does her best work to date in this hilarious, artfully scripted tale of a contentious election for student-body president at a Midwestern high school. The movie, directed and co-written by Alexander Payne (About Schmidt), also stars Matthew Broderick, Loren Nelson and Chris Klein.

Cruel Intentions (1999) -- Rich kids at a prep school use sex as a weapon in this Gen Y version of the 1782 French novel Les Liaisons Dangereuses. Phillippe also stars, along with Sarah Michelle Gellar, Selma Blair and Louise Fletcher.

Pleasantville (1998) -- Teen siblings played by Witherspoon and Tobey Maguire are magically transported to a 1950s sitcom in a funny, touching comedy-drama imaginatively written and directed by Gary Ross. The cast also includes William H. Macy, Joan Allen and Jeff Daniels.

Twilight (1998) -- Witherspoon has a small but revealing role in this well-acted contemporary film noir starring Paul Newman, Gene Hackman, James Garner and Susan Sarandon.

S.F.W. (1994) -- Young shoppers, including an upper-class girl played by Witherspoon, are taken hostage in a convenience-store robbery in this frantic, overbaked essay on the nature of celebrity in the information age.

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