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Legally Blonde 2: Red, White, & Blonde

At last! A movie about the 3 things people like most: Lawyers, politicians, and screeching, squealing, spoiled rich sorority girls with too much time on their hands and an altogether excessive amount of hot pink on their bodies. Legally Blonde, the original film in this series, contained only one out of three, and thus was not nearly as likely to cause head trauma as the current wonder child,Legally Blonde 2: Red, White, & Blonde.

The official plot synopsis for LB2 reads like a sorority initiation guide. It uses a lot of cute phrases like “sassy postgrad” and “all about animal rights.” After sitting through an entire movie of valley girl phraseology, I think I’ll just tell you that Elle Woods (Reese Witherspoon) moves to Washington because she loves puppies. Really rich people who don’t have to worry about money can do fun things like that. So she puts her marriage plans from the first movie on hold, and heads to D.C. to fight the good fight against animal testing. Remember, she may act as if she has all the brains of a sea cucumber lost in the desert, but in the last movie she proved she’s super smart by earning a Harvard law degree… scented of course.

Legally Blonde 2 tries desperately to recapture all the engaging cuteness of its predecessor, but has chosen all the wrong subject matter in which to do it. Politics, as it turns out, are not cute. A pink Chihuahua or two is not going to change that. Instead, LB2 ends up being preachy and annoyingly sanctimonious. Elle shoves her shallow and ill considered thoughts down the throats of Congress and they of course buy it because again, puppies are really really cute.

If any of this had in some way been funny, then outright script stupidity might have been forgivable. But then even the original, which was easily tolerable, was never all that much for laughs. The jokes have only gotten thinner the second time out. To LB2’s credit, they did work in more than one nearly funny scene featuring gay dog jokes. Little known actor Bruce McGill absolutely owns these, playing a curmudgeonly conservative dealing with the shameful complexities of being a member of the NRA and owning a homosexual pet. Unfortunately, his brilliant performances are only given a glance, since minutes are needed for poor old Bob Newhart to trudge on camera flopping around for a comeback.

I thought the point here was that it’s ok for women to be pretty, sweet, and openly ditzy, but still smart and professional somewhere on the inside (underneath a fuzzy pair of pink panties I think). Whatever happened to that Harvard Law Degree? I didn’t see Ms. Woods do even one moderately intelligent thing in this film. Where in the original, she succeeded through hard work and determination while maintaining her almost retarded idealism; here she just gets lucky. Success drops right into the lap of Elle Woods because she’s cute and has lots of friends. That is of course what is most important… isn’t it?

In the end I was never all that convinced Elle even cares about what she’s doing. Maybe that’s because I myself never did. I found myself immediately hoping she’d marry the extremely bored fellow who resembles Owen Wilson so we could have a big wedding sequence and stab ourselves outside the theater on our way home. I don’t think Reese Witherspoon’s heavily marketed charm has worn thin it’s just this particular character whose welcome has been blown out.