Click here 1 and a half stars

Reese Witherspoon
Barbie goes to Washington
Reese Witherspoon's charm just barely saves this bit of fluff
from the celluloid scrap heap

"Legally Blonde 2: Red, White & Blonde"

Reviewed by Carlos deVillalvilla

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Reese Witherspoon returns as Elle Woods, the plucky Harvard law grad who never forgot her roots ... blond, but not dumb. And no, she was never ashamed to let her Hills background show ... Beverly Hills, that is.

Jennifer Coolidge, Alanna Ubach, Jessica Cauffiel
Jennifer Coolidge, Alanna Ubach, Jessica Cauffiel
In this sequel to the surprise hit, Elle is planning her wedding to fellow lawyer Emmett Richmond (Luke Wilson) and is distraught that her dog Bruiser can't invite her mother, who is in an animal testing lab for a large cosmetic firm. Being Elle, she decides that this is totally unfair, and since she can't get her way, she'll find a way to make it happen anyway. To this end, she becomes an intern for powerful Congresswoman Victoria Rudd (Sally Field), who also happens to be an alum of the same sorority as Elle.

But getting her way isn't as easy as it sounds. On the way to getting Bruiser's Law passed, Elle must overcome snooty interns (including Regina King), intractable, hard-hearted congressmen (Bruce McGill, Dana Ivey) and the machinery of government itself. But Elle's pluckiness lands her a spot testifying in front of a congressional committee, and of course, Elle's plans for a dream wedding come through.

If all this sounds like garbage, well, it is, pretty much. The first "Legally Blonde" succeeded not only because of the fish-out-of-water aspect of Beverly Hills princess goes to Harvard, but because Elle, overlooked by those who thought themselves smarter than her, was in a situation that was semi-believable, even if you can for a moment handle the stretch that a first-year law student would be even allowed to act as an attorney in a murder trial.

In this movie, Elle is more plucky than smart, and she manages to do things that no Washington intern could ever possibly do. Not to mention that the whole premise of the movie is that basically Elle is stomping her little feet and saying, in a too-cute voice, "I want Bruiser's mom at my wedding and I want her NOW!!!!" It does take away some of the character's charm.

The fact that Reese Witherspoon is so durn likable as Elle is the only thing that saves this movie from the no-star oblivion to which I would normally consign it. Even though she has little to work with and the jokes in the movie are just godawful, Witherspoon's personality projects through and makes Elle likable despite the flaws of the script.

I liked the can-do attitude of the first "Legally Blonde." The second one seems more tired and less fresh. Based on this one, I'm not terribly interested in a third installment in the franchise. Unless, of course, it's "Legally Blonde: Biker Chick Makeover."

Instead of renting this one, you might want to wait until it comes on free television. That way, you can channel surf after the first commercial so your evening won't be quite so wasted.

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See cast, credit and other details about "Legally Blonde 2: Red, White & Blonde" at Internet Movie Data Base.