Review: “Legally Blonde 2: Red, White and Blonde”

The first “Legally Blonde” was a fun little comedy, certainly nothing special but it had a few good laughs and showed Reese Witherspoon could be a deft comic talent with the right material. The courtroom setting, the frequent change of wacky outfits and a strong supporting cast all contributed to a film which went on to become a surprise smash hit.

The sequel however is more like Reese’s follow-up “Sweet Home Alabama”, a film with the odd laugh but lacks an interesting story to build upon and lowers the comedy quotient considerably in favour of sentimentality. The move to the political arena should’ve been ripe for material, but the sweet-nature of the series prevents any biting satire about politicians and instead ops for standard ‘ditzy blond in tough field’ routine – ie. replaying the first film all over again. That is its main failing, Elle already learned her lessons last time around so its a shame they didn’t seem to stick here.

Witherspoon keeps our attention and her charisma more than anything carries us through the film’s many quiet or limp gag sequences. The film is more gravitated towards her this time and she holds to the challenge even if her character’s over-optimism and naievity pushes credibility even in this type of movie.

Returning actors like Luke Wilson & Jennifer Coolidge are left with very little to do and are perfunctory at best in this, though its fun to see her friends from the first film (Reena & Margot) getting a better go this time around. Bob Newhart, Sally Field, Bruce McGill and Dana Ivey all take to their roles with a sense of good fun although Regina King as the straight-talking office head and the various assistants have ample on-screen time but feel woefully underdone by the limp script.

The change of director hasn’t been for the better, Charles Herman-Wurmfeld handles the job solidly enough but some gags which should work just don’t (ie. the gay dog sequences) and other scenes just feel more claustrophobic and not as clean as the first film – then again every now and then something silly will come out of nowhere to help things a little (eg. the cheerleader sequence).

Sophie de Rakoff Carbonell once again gets to show off her talent with the various stunning costumes although she’s seemingly on a more limited budget than last time. The sequel feels more like an exercise than anything else, an even more lightweight and insubstantial film than its predecessor and one only for those whose peroxide has gone to their head.