Sweet Home Alabama - DVD Release

Legally Blonde 2 - Red, White  Blonde

Reese Witherspoon

Reese Witherspoon


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Legally Blonde 2:  Red, White & Blonde
Review written by: Alex Sandell

Trying to type out a professional review for Legally Blonde 2 is like writing a serious critique of cotton candy.  Both are fluffy, light and entirely without substance, and neither is anything to write home about.  I already blew my load all over Reese Witherspoon's poor career choices in what I have labeled her "trilogy of triviality" in my review of Sweet Home Alabama.  This time, I'm going to actually have to review the film, rather than its talented leading actress.  Legally Blonde 2: Red, White & Blonde could be described in less than 10 words:  sweet, pink, light, trite and vapid.  The movie could also be trashed, thrashed and ripped to shreds.  But how do you tear apart a big airy poof of food coloring and whipped sugar?  It almost seems inhumane.  So, I have decided to describe what's wrong with it in a tone friendly enough to do the eternally chipper Elle Woods proud.

The film starts out with Elle's friends looking through a scrapbook of her old photos.  One of them is Elle, at approximately 2 years old, holding a shopping bag.  I'm sorry to report to you, dear reader, that, with a few notable exceptions, this is about as funny as it gets.  Elle's marrying Harvard professor, Emmett Richmond (Luke Wilson, in his third movie in a row).  Although everything seems in place for the perfect wedding at Boston's famous Fenway Park, Elle can't help but feel that something's missing.  As she's driving down the road with her beloved Chihuahua, Bruiser, she realizes that he's her best friend, and without his canine family in attendance at the wedding, the wedding wouldn't be complete. 

Complications set in when Elle remembers that Bruiser was an abandoned dog that she adopted, years ago.  The determined blonde quickly finds out that Bruiser's mother is a test animal at a cosmetics factory.  When no one is willing to help her, from the factory down to the law firm she works for, a determined Elle heads to Washington DC to convince congress to create a law banning this cruel form of abuse.  Dog lovers rejoice!

The fact that I truly believe that dog is man's best friend, and that I've been staunchly opposed to animal testing for useless cosmetics for over a decade, did cause me to like this film more than I should have.  On the other hand, the fact that the movie deteriorated into something so "cutesy" that I walked out of the theater nearly wishing that all of those annoying damn Chihuahuas were sent through the shredder, along with any human wearing pink, is a telling sign of how wrong the film goes. 

First time screenwriter Kate Kondell is absolutely determined to out-cute the original Legally Blonde, in any way she possibly can.  She's as single-minded as the Terminator in her quest.  Nothing, but nothing, will get in the way of Kondell's need to splatter the screen with "cuteness."  It is this that causes the film to crumble.  There were some hardy laughs from the audience during the first half of the film, but in the second, you could hear a pin drop.  Most likely a pink pin.  With a sweet pink ribbon flowing behind it like a streamer.  And an adorable mini pink puffball covering the sharp end, so no one would get hurt and reveal their *gasp* red blood.

Of course it's an uphill battle for Elle.  The game of politics is a dirty one, she finds out, and one that's not easy to win.  When she first arrives in Washington as an aide, her only two human allies are Representative Rudd (Sally Field) and Yoda-like doorman Sidney Post (Bob Newhart).  Elle reminds Rudd of herself, when she first came to Washington.  Sidney Post is a fountain of wisdom, and guides Elle through her many trials and tribulations. 

There are some funny moments when Woods first arrives in Washington.  You can't help but laugh when she meets up with an NRA supporting, homophobic conservative Senator from a southern state, who owns a Rottweiler. When the politician hears that his male Rottweiler is "making eyes" at Elle's little male Chihuahua in a dog salon, it quickly causes the senator to reevaluate his take on alternative lifestyles.  Another fun scene was when a discouraged Elle spends time at the Lincoln Memorial, asking Honest Abe if he was really honest.  She decides that he was, if only for the guts he displayed by wearing that goofy hat of his. 

But scenes of this nature grow fewer and farther between as the film digresses into a pile of sticky pink goo.  Elle's friends do their part to win over members of Congress with a ridiculous song and dance type cheerleading routine in support of Bruiser's Bill.  Hair-stylist, Paulette Bonafonté (Jennifer Coolidge), who's now married to that UPS product placement from the first film, gives free "hairjobs" to the politicians.  After her friends pitch in, Elle believes she has the lawmakers right where she wants them, but there are still more uphill battles on the way. 

I won't let you know whether or not Elle gets the bill passed (take a wild guess), but will reveal that her climatic speech involving a bad haircut she once received, and how she should have spoken out to the stylists, but didn't, was one of the sappiest and most contrived things I've ever seen put on film.  This is no Mr. Smith Goes to Washington.  Although the message behind it would apply to almost any politician, Elle's speech wouldn't rouse a single lawmaker, and it didn't do much for the audience, either. 

The movie goes on for too long, and grows pinker and cuter and more far-fetched the further it goes.  Elle Woods, who fought so hard to prove her intelligence in the first, is dumbed down in the second, as a matter of convenience.  Her character regresses, rather than progresses, and although Reese Witherspoon gives it her all, she's given nothing new to give to the audience.

It's really too bad, because any film defending the rights of dogs should be a classic, by default.  Instead, we're stuck overdosing on a pink pile of crummy cuteness.  The first Legally Blonde was a harmless Clueless rip-off.  The second is simply clueless.

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Text ©(Copyright) 2003 Alex Sandell [All Rights Reserved].