Legally Blonde 2: Movie Review

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In this sequel to Legally Blonde, Elle Woods (Reese Witherspoon, Sweet Home Alabama) is getting married and she wants her Chihuahua’s mother to attend the wedding. She discovers that the dog is regrettably being held in a cosmetics testing lab. After suggesting to her law firm colleagues that they get the company in question to reverse its policies, she is promptly fired. So off she goes to Washington to take on the system herself.

One would think that with a cast consisting of Bob Newhart (Newhart—TV), Jennifer Coolidge (A Mighty Wind), Sally Field (Norma Rae), and Reese Witherspoon, all directed by Charles Herman-Wurmfeld (Kissing Jessica Stein), the audience would be in for non-stop laughs. But Legally Blonde 2: Red, White & Blonde falls extremely short of the already borderline Legally Blonde. While the first film revels in camp and silliness, taking the characters completely over the top, the sequel takes a stand on the notorious soapbox, and attempts to instill principles in the Elle Woods caricature. The film takes on gay rights and animal rights all in one fell swoop, and does justice to neither. It is vaguely believable that Elle would actually care about animal testing (after all, it is hindering her in her quest for the perfect wedding), but attaching ethics to such a one-dimensional character greatly minimizes what are otherwise worthy causes. The film doesn’t stop there, nor does Elle. Once she is in Washington, arranged through one of several strategically placed sorority sisters, Elle decides she needs to not only change the animal testing laws but also change the back-scratching politics of Washington.

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If you manage to get past having the likes of Elle Woods preaching to you, there are still other aspects of the film you may have trouble digesting. For example, how exactly does Elle manage to go from being a fired attorney to working for a congressperson? The writers, Eve Ahlert, Dennis Drake (together, Down With Love), and first timer Kate Kondell, make a half-hearted attempt to explain this away in an almost unbearable opening sequence. Apparently, Representative Rudd is a former Delta-Nu and that is all it takes. This is also all it takes for Elle to reduce congressperson Libby Hauser from a stoic, hard-nosed committee chairperson to a giggling teenybopper. These happy little coincidences are the only method used to move the plot along. You are expected to believe that underneath her narcissistic exterior, Elle apparently is a great lawyer. However, it seems the only way Elle gets anything done is through luck and chance. At least in the first Legally Blonde movie, Elle used deduction, logic, and reason to solve the case. Granted it is her knowledge of beauty and fashion that leads to the resolution, but at least it’s something. In the sequel, we see very little true brainpower on Elle’s part.

It seems this film, which is trying to take a higher ground, does more harm than good. The way in which Elle manages to get into Harvard, become a lawyer, and successfully present a bill to Congress, all with very little effort or intelligence, serves only to belittle the efforts of intelligent, hard-working women. Apparently it’s not as hard as we all have been making it out to be. We only need to join Delta-Nu! Unfortunately, the intelligent female characters in the film (Sally Field’s Representative Rudd and her congressional aid, Grace, played by Regina King, Down to Earth) serve as the antagonists.

However, this otherwise miss does have some redeeming qualities, most of which lie in the supporting cast. Kudos to the filmmakers for bringing mainstream attention to Christopher Guest’s find, Jennifer Coolidge. Through superb delivery, she manages to get more laughs from the audience than the star herself. It is also great to see Bob Newhart back in action as the politically savvy doorman Sid. Unfortunately, he only has a few much too short scenes. You would be better off seeing A Mighty Wind or watching Newhart reruns on Nick at Night than venturing to the theater to see this film.


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