|That Reese Witherspoon can be described as "adorable" in her role as "Elle Woods," attorney at law, is undeniable. And her appearance in the second installment of the MGM lifesaver franchise, Legally Blonde, makes it clear that the studio still has some wind left in its sails. After the catastrophic box office bombs of Windtalkers, Hart's War, and Rollerball all hitting the studio below the belt with miniscule earnings, the return of the successful 2001 film Legally Blonde has been all but certain. By nearly quintupling its budget and earning close to a 100 million dollars domestically, MGM has high hopes that the Legally Blonde franchise will prove as entertaining the second go-around.|
And Red, White, & Blonde will probably rake in a respectable box office simply because the formula presented to audiences in the first film was changed very little for this second film. Whereas it might have been seen as a more creative choice to take the story or characters into new territory, this film is more of an exact copy that simply takes place in a different city. The character of Elle Woods possesses the same combination of innocence and intelligence that she had in the 2001 film and fans of the first film should be pleased at Elle's return.
And though it's easy to dismiss this film as a brainless and fluffy sequel, that label is probably its strongest point. Reese Witherspoon ladles on the charm with buoyant enthusiasm and a tidy running time of 94 minutes (including the credits) makes Legally Blonde 2 the type of film for audiences wanting nothing more than a bit of unrealistic fluff and giggle-worthy comedy from their theatrical experience. The appearance of the United States congress may be simplistically portrayed in the film, but the basic idea that "one person can make a difference" is a worthy one.
And just because we've seen this idea in countless Washington D.C. located films is nothing at which to turn one's nose up. The idea has worked countless times before, so why change it? Though the narrative might strike those without a preexisting love of Reese Witherspoon and the first Blonde film as being too simplistic, it's probable that the filmmakers weren't looking to expand their customer base with this movie. The formula was so successful in the first film that it would be monetary folly to change it for the second.
Having already established the fact that Reese Witherspoon seems to have been made for the role of Elle Woods, those responsible for the casting of the film seem to have been on their game as well. Sally Field is doubtless one of the finest actresses of her generation, but seeing her play a role in such a sweet and fluffy film makes it easy to appreciate her range. Whereas some actors are suited to just a single genre, Field proves that she can leap into the comedic arena with ease, having been associated with multiple genres in her career.
The reappearance of Luke Wilson is an welcome addition to the cast, though additional scenes involving his character might have benefited the production as the romantic chemistry between Wilson and Witherspoon has spark. And the casting of Bob Newhart as a rather helpful doorman in D.C. marks a good move for the producers as it's obvious Newhart's ability to create off-the-cuff and spontaneous jokes added a needed spark to the production. Though Witherspoon's comedic ability makes for entertaining viewing, allowing for jokes from other characters was a smart move by the director.
Legally Blonde 2 exists as a textbook example of a film whose creators paid attention to the success of the original idea and didn't try to change it unnecessarily. While the film won't be considered the most intelligent out of the gate (its ideas on the United States Congress are not really fleshed out), the innocence and sweetness of Reese Witherspoon and her talent for making her character truly likeable will be the reason for any successes this movie might have. Without Witherspoon in the leading role, Legally Blonde 2 would be a different and possibly lesser film. It's Witherspoon's singular ability to turn a pink-wearing blonde-haired sorority sister into an intelligent and honest woman that makes this film so charming.
Review by Kelsey Wyatt.