To be fair, Elle Woods said the maneuver „has a 98 percent success rate at getting a man`s attention, and when used correctly, it has an 83 percent return on investment on a dinner invitation.“ But despite the imperfect plan of curvature and snapshot, it`s safe to say that 100% of fans fell in love with Coolidge`s role as Paulette Bonafonté, which she played in both the 2001 film and its 2003 sequel. „I`ve never had a penchant for working for myself like in this movie,“ Coolidge said at the outlet in an interview published Saturday, Aug. 13. „I think bending and snapping are misleading.“ The film, released 20 years ago, remains a relevant feminist portrait of the ditzy stagecoach, but „fold and slam“ it lives as a parallel phenomenon. Although it leads to a hurtful reward in the story (Paulette breaks her nose but gets her husband), it presents itself as a stupid and participative punchline in itself, which has been repurposed and revived for theater shows, music videos, and even Italian gay nightclubs. To those involved in the scene, including a high-profile choreographer and several young actors and dancers, his creation feels just as magical, requiring weeks of rehearsals and filming to reflect McCullah and Smith`s unique vision. Under the direction of director Robert Luketic, the spontaneous two-part seduction eventually became a musical number in its own right, words bending and catching in pop culture history books. The scene takes place in the middle of Legally Blonde, when Elle (Reese Witherspoon) wants to give Paulette (Coolidge) a boost of confidence after an unpleasant encounter with her delivery crush (Bruce Thomas). She shares a lesson from her mother, explaining the basics of „bending and slamming,“ a maneuver that has a „98% success rate at getting a man`s attention.“ (And, not to mention „when used correctly, an 83% return on a dinner invitation.“) Soon, she begins teaching the entire living room how to move, with a dance session (full of all sorts of curves and snapshots) bursting into a joyful celebration. In a matter of minutes, Legally Blonde transforms into a surreal panorama covered in candy. Basil began gathering other dancers and designing choreographies to accommodate a group. Originally, Luketic had asked that only women appear in the footage, but Basil pushed back.
„Every hairdresser and salon has so many men,“ she says, and a long-haired Ryan Heffington was chosen to balance the scene. At the top of Basil`s list of actors was Faida Brigham, an accomplished dancer who had spent time in Basil`s African dance class. As a hospital director in Long Beach, California, Brigham never pursued his career, but jumped at the chance to audition for Basil and be part of a Hollywood production. After I booked the job, „I remember being in my office screaming,“ Brigham says. „I didn`t feel all the seriousness until I was at the screening and I looked at myself in the real film.“ In fact, Jennifer Coolidge, whose character in Legally Blonde learned the iconic movement of Reese Witherspoon`s Elle Woods, knows it from experience. The 60-year-old actress even went so far as to say that it was „a moment in cinema with which I would absolutely disagree“. „The first most depressing lesson I learned on set was when I wanted to do Legal Blonde, and there was an actor – a TV actor I`d seen on TV, a funny guy – and he was the ranger [for the studio]. And I remember thinking we should be grateful,“ she told Deadline. I thought I could do this movie here, and then it could be a waitress again. Nothing is set in stone.
Coolidge is currently in the midst of a string of successes. Not only does she reprise her role as the adorable nail technician Paulette in „Legally Blonde 3,“ but she also returns to her role as Tanya McQuoid in the second season of „The White Lotus.“ And while „folding and snapping“ may not have worked for her in real life, the lead role in „American Pie“ apparently did. She is against it! Jennifer Coolidge explained whether Legally Blonde`s iconic „bend and snap“ movement has ever worked for her — and which line of film is most cited. Jennifer Coolidge`s „Bend and Snap“ scene in „Legally Blonde“ is pretty iconic, but the actress herself doesn`t feel like the movement makes sense in real life. Shortly after Platt approved of the turn and snap scene, Luketic began to think musically. The director had just finished his 1997 short Titsiana Booberini, a musical that debuted at the Telluride Film Festival, and was eager to incorporate Smith`s movement into a dance sequence. Luketic hired Toni Basil – the veteran dancer responsible for „Hey Mickey“ – to choreograph the short scene. However, before she could start, McCullah and Smith Basil had to show off her move, so they visited her dance studio to perform the basic mechanics. „[Toni] had other dancers there, and she said, `Okay, can you do it again? Watch! No more chicken wings at the top!` Smith recalls.
„I thought, `What`s going on? It`s so crazy. The 60-year-old actress confessed that the 2001 scene is a „moment in cinema with which I completely disagree,“ telling Deadline that she had no luck with the pickup technique. „I have to say that when I did the `fold and click`, I was wearing my underwear and I feel like you have to leave them out in real life,“ she added. „I`ve had a lot of acting as a MILF, and I`ve had a lot of sexual action from `American Pie,`“ she told Variety. „There were so many advantages to making this film. I mean, there would be about 200 people I`ve never slept with. Originally from Massachusetts, she played nail salon worker Paulette in Legally Blonde and Legally Blonde 2: Red, White and Blonde. In the first film, her character is challenged by Elle Woods (Reese Witherspoon) to make the „bend and snap“ move to land the delivery man she fainted on for months. The White Lotus star explained that while the „bend and snap“ is memorable, it`s far from the most cited line of the two films. To end the scene, Luketic enlisted John Cantwell to play Maurice, a salon employee who sees everyone dancing.
„Oh my God, the `folding and snapping`! Works every time! “ he says, before the camera shows two dogs barking approvingly. „As an openly gay comedian and actor, there were a lot of one-liners,“ he laughs about the Legally Blonde era. And although the artist (now a drag queen) didn`t get a chance to show his own turn, he enjoyed it a bit. „It just tells you – gay hairdressers, we know everything.“ Upon the release of the video, Smith was „stunned“ by the level of detail and generally the overall stamina of the scene. (The film, which grossed $141 million worldwide on its $18 million budget, „now attracts young girls because it`s about empowering women and destroying patriarchy,“ McCullah says.) Cantwell says he`s still known for his line on drag performance, and his only regret is that Luketic has drastically reduced the scene. „It was a complete production figure,“ he says. „Look at all the shapes, sizes and ages of people. Everyone is having fun. My dream has always been that one day they will realize the vision of this great director. When Ariana Grande started coming up with ideas for her music video „Thank you, next“ in 2019, she was first drawn to Mean Girls and wanted to turn the film`s „brand book“ into a „book of gratitude.“ When she discussed the idea with director Hannah Lux Davis, the two began listing their other favorite films of the time — Bring It On, 13 Going on 30 and Legally Blonde — and couldn`t resist bringing them all together in one video. „We found this consistent line where each character undergoes a transformation and comes out wiser on the other side,“ Davis says.