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With: Reese Witherspoon, Sally Field, Bob Newhart, Luke Wilson, Regina King, Jennifer Coolidge, Bruce McGill
Written by: Eve Ahlert, Dennis Drake, Kate Kondell
Directed by: Charles Herman-Wurmfeld
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for some sex-related humor
Running Time: 95
Date: 06/30/2003

Legally Blonde 2: Red, White and Blonde (2003)

0 Stars

'Blonde' Sequel Should Be Illegal

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

I hereby accuse Legally Blonde 2 of crimes against moviegoers.

To start, this sequel to the likeably brain-dead 2001 film is not funny. The best joke -- the absolute best the filmmakers could come up with -- is about gay dogs, which quickly degenerates into offensive gay stereotypes.

Secondly, the movie has Elle Woods (Reese Witherspoon) going to Washington to try and get a bill passed banning cosmetics companies from testing products on animals. Whereas in Election, Witherspoon skewered all of American politics as the bouncy, conniving Tracy Flick.

Here, the only skewering going on is asking people to pay $9 for this junk. The movie doesn't have the remotest conception of the rules of politics, much less any opinion on them. With all the other crazy stuff going on in American politics, the movie seems dead serious about its animal-testing stand -- like a low-rent, idiotic version of a Stanley Kramer picture. It's an issue no one can really refute.

As the film begins, we're asked to believe that Elle -- who graduated Harvard Law School at the end of the last movie -- has succeeded in her law firm, despite the fact that she won her first case based on a knowledge of hair care products and not law. When Elle tries to invite her dog Bruiser's mom to her impending wedding (with Luke Wilson), she discovers the poor mama dog a helpless victim of a cosmetics company.

Her law firm fails to help and when she complains, she's fired. And so she heads off to DC to do something herself. Somehow she's automatically given a job with Senator Rudd (Sally Field, much funnier in "The Flying Nun") and her band of assistants. The assistants hate her at first, but eventually change their minds for no reason.

Elle's good luck kicks in again when it turns out that one cranky judge is a sorority sister and that Bruiser has fallen in love with a Southern Conservative's dog. She enlists both politicos for her cause.

She even manages to rout out the bad guy through another makeup-related slip of the tongue. Why would the bad guy be stupid enough to lie to Elle about getting a facial?

Thirdly, the filmmaking, by writers Eve Ahlert, Dennis Drake and Kate Kondell and director Charles Herman-Wurmfeld (Kissing Jessica Stein) lacks any kind of competence. It relies on lazy short cuts, coincidences and complete suspension of anything remotely resembling reality.

In one scene a group of cheerleaders perform a routine in the capitol building to coax senators toward the Bruiser Bill. Instead of calling security, the politicians gather 'round, clap their hands and smile. (Just imagine what would have happened if Elle had been behind the recent war protests.)

No, the idea behind Legally Blonde is not unlike Forrest Gump -- shut your mind off, don't question and you'll be happy. In this movie, intelligence only leads to lying, selfishness and evil.

Reese Witherspoon had enough charisma to sell the original Legally Blonde to some extent, but here she simply goes through the motions -- doing less work for a bigger paycheck as well as an "executive producer" credit in. The movie expects us to simply accept that Elle is charming without actually bothering to show it.

In 2001, I faulted the first film for wasting Witherspoon's talents. Up to that point, she had enjoyed an energetic, experimental career full of fascinating films, including Election, Freeway, Twilight, Pleasantville, Best Laid Plans and American Psycho. I rallied for her return to the kind of cinema that spawned her.

Two years later, after the diminishing quality of her romantic comedies -- yes, Legally Blonde 2 is even worse than Sweet Home Alabama -- I've given up. Hollywood can have her. And they can throw away the key.

MGM released this on Blu-Ray in 2011 with far too many extras, including a commentary track with Witherspoon and others, deleted scenes, a gag reel, a music video, and several featurettes.

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