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Legally Blonde 2:
Red, White & Blonde (2003)
At the coda of
1999s Election, Reese
Witherspoons unforgettable character, high school overachiever Tracy Enid Flick,
ends up as a legislative aide in Washington, D.C. Its a perfect ending to a spot-on
black comedy that illuminates hypocrisy in America as well as any film in recent history.
In Legally Blonde 2: Red, White and Blonde, Witherspoons
latest venture, she also plays a political aide. But thats the only element the
films have in common. Election is brilliant, quirky satire; Legally Blonde 2 represents
the worst in Hollywood sequelitis. Not only dull and unfunny, its appalling, and
darned near offensive in its vapidity. Even the adorable designer clothes, which usually
add lots of fun to a lightweight story like this, don't liven up the action.
Witherspoon has to take credit on several fronts for the disaster. As
well as reprising the starring role as a cute and bubbly (yet smart!) Harvard law student
with an obsessive fashion sense, shes also billed as executive producer. But blame
also must go to screenwriter Kate Kondell and director Charles Herman-Wurmfeld, who take
the thin, occasionally amusing premise of the first Legally Blonde and turn it into this
horrifyingly soulless 94-minute exercise.
This time around, the perky Elle Woods takes on the nations
capital a la Jimmy Stewart. The film even shows Elle and her fiance Emmett (Luke Wilson,
in the epitome of a thankless role) watching Mr.
Smith Goes to Washington on TV. But what a sacrilege vision; for while Smith
fights for rights and principles, Elle fights for the right to look like a princess.
As in the original film, Elle succeeds because shes sweet and
cute, but more importantly, she knows fashion and trends as well as she does law. She wins
in Washingtons unforgiving halls by tapping into her opponents vanity. She
earns a political friend because she recognizes the lipstick color the congresswoman
wears, or she gets support because her overdressed Chihauhua Bruiser fancies a rottweiler
owned by a senator whose views she needs to sway. (Even though the pups may the the first
gay canines to hit the mainstream big screen, that doesn't make them funny.)
Not once does Elle succeed by knowing any facts about her issue. In
fact, the films most savvy political character is a doorman played by Bob Newhart.
Huh?! The movies so mind-numbingly stupid, its hardly worth describing the
plot -- about how Elle takes up banning animal testing when she discovers that beloved
Bruisers mother is a test subject for a cosmetic company.
She gets work in the office of a friend and mentor in the House of
Representatives (Sally Field), whose staffers rightly are incredulous of Elles hot
pink Jackie Kennedy ensemble, and even more, her giddy naivete. Their initial reaction to
the superficial sweetie is about the only recognizably human element of Legally Blonde
2. It complements the unpleasant feeling generated by watching this witless movie.
- Leslie Katz