May 29, 2015

[Movies] Legally Blonde 2: Red White & Blonde (2003)

So after finally reviewing the first Legally Blonde movie, one cannot just sit idly by and not get around to reviewing the second movie as well. Or maybe that's just how I feel being a bit of a completest when I'm not too careful about things. That sentence may not make much sense, but it sort of does?

Back on point, Legally Blonde 2: Red, White & Blonde was a weird follow-up to the hit first movie. Perhaps we shouldn't have been all that surprised that they had decided to create a sequel given the success the first movie had managed to attain for itself.

But what was disappointing is the fact that as fun as the first movie was, this one rather paled in comparison given the decision to follow the overly tired Hollywood sequel formula of quickly rehashing plot elements from the first movie and figuring out a way to include them in the sequel. Thus you have a movie full of seemingly random gags here and there only loosely held together by a weak narrative. And it's such a shame since Reese remained pretty brilliant in this movie in terms of her performance but had little substantial things to really accomplish here.

Synopsis: Legally Blonde 2: Red, White & Blonde is the sequel to the 2001 movie. It was directed by Charles Herman-Wurmfield with a screenplay by Kate Kondell and still using the characters inspire by the characters created by Amanda Brown.

So Elle Woods (Reese Witherspoon) is set to be married to Emmett (Luke Wilson) and she comes to the idea of trying to find the mother of her chihuahua Bruiser so that she can attend the wedding as well. The detective she hires eventually discovers that Bruiser's mother is still alive - but is being used as part of an animal testing program for a cosmetics company. Thus she decides to take up the cause of animal rights and she manages to get a job as a member of Congresswoman Victoria Rudd's (Sally Fields) staff where she hopes to get "Bruiser's Bill" passed.

Thus the scene shifts to Washington, D.C. where Elle is determined to change the world but of course the rest of Congresswoman Rudd's staff are a lot more jaded about how much can be accomplished on Capitol Hill. Thus the movie focuses on her continuing efforts to get things down, but also her increasing disillusionment with the whole legislative process and all of its backdoor deals and politics. Whether or not Elle's usual spirit of optimism will be enough to help Bruiser is where the movie really digs into things.

Now as much as I can totally buy into Elle's love for Bruiser, the decision to make the movie about the dog and make it a borderline animal-centric movie was a little weird. The first movie had Elle being this strange beacon of pink amid the formality of Harvard Law, but for the most part things remained realistic. Here we had the dog as the focus and other dog-related antics that made things a little too cute and a little silly at times. And thus Elle's reasons for going to Capitol Hill felt a little convoluted when it could have just been about Elle setting her sights on bigger things or something. I think we could have come up with a better idea than the dog.

Like many other movie sequels, it suffered the pitfall of trying to repeat various jokes that worked in the first movie as odd non-signature moments this time around. Thus you have weird bits like Elle's sorority friends still being ditzy sorority girls who just happen to have jobs and of course Elle submitting Bruiser's Bill on scented paper like when she submitted her resume in the first movie. It was funny the first time around but here it already felt a little tired and somewhat contrived.

The in-office antagonism and having Regina King play the jaded Congress staffer was potentially interesting but eventually felt a little 1-dimensional except towards the end. And it felt too similar to how the bulk of the Harvard Law students received Elle in the first movie. So again, we didn't get new jokes but instead got sad rehashed stuff. The only item of merit that felt pretty interesting was Elle and her "snap cup" for compliments, but it wasn't strong enough to be terribly memorable beyond the movie.

Legally Blonde 2: Red, White & Blonde is only really fun because of Reese Witherspoon, but the writing with its lazy jokes and rehashed plot really wasted her talents. The big ending didn't feel quite all about Elle being the darling she is but may have played on the politics as usual card given how things resolved. Thus the movie only really gets 4 snap cup messages out of a possible 5.

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