Legally Blonde 2: Red, White & Blonde quickly wipes away the character transformation that happened in the first film of the series. In that film, Elle Woods (Reese Witherspoon) transformed from a sorority girl to a lawyer. Here, she moves from lawyer to a Congresswoman’s aide. It’s like the same thing, except that instead of having potentially thrilling courtroom sequences, we get dull meetings about different bills. There’s a reason that she quits being a lawyer, but it’s all superfluous; she’s here to go through the same plot as the first movie, but with a different chosen profession.
Okay, the reason: Elle is getting married to an attorney and now professor, Emmett (Luke Wilson). She is going over the invite list, and realized that Bruiser (her dog), has family that he’s never met. She seeks out his mother via a private investigator, and learns that Bruiser’s mother is a test animal for a cosmetics corporation. She wants to make animal testing illegal, so she hops in her car and drives to Washington D.C.
From there, we go through the same type of storyline that we went through last time. Elle is initially disliked, but her charm eventually wins people over. Her illogical and backward philosophy somehow works despite having no prior reason to, and the charm and bubbly personality that Elle brings with her is enough to distract us from much of the film’s flaws. This time, though, I was onto her. I was disappointed after the first film ended, because of how silly it ended up being. This one is even sillier, and it doesn’t work nearly as well.
At this point, it’s established that Elle isn’t a stupid person. She wasn’t really in the first film, either, but her ditzy personality made you think she might be. The transformation from that to a hot-shot lawyer is a relatively large one, and seeing that happen — as well as all the crazy scenes that happen during it — is kind of neat. This time, she takes a step down, not up, becoming an aide to an important person while trying to get her bill passed.
Not only is it a step down, but we’ve already seen how she can accomplish things as a lawyer. Seeing her try to succeed in Congress is, well, not as impressive. We’ve seen her do well elsewhere, in a more personal and therefore important setting, so seeing it here just isn’t as enjoyable. Not only that, but the character transformation from the first film only barely plays into it this time. She’s a more generic, idealistic person, and it’s only because (1) we’ve seen the first film and (2) Witherspoon is still enjoyable to watch that she’s even remotely close to the same character.
The story is formulaic and done in the previous film, the characters are far less and are barely relevant, and I can’t think of more than one reason to give this film the hour and a half of your life that it will steal. That single reason is Witherspoon’s performance, although you’ve seen that before, too. She’s still fun to watch here, and you almost feel bad for her given the mediocrity all around her, but not that bad considering she probably got paid well for the role.
Bob Newhart is also in Legally Blonde 2, which is probably something he’d like you to forget. He plays Sid, a doorman at the local hotel, who ends up spending practically every moment he can helping Elle in her quest to get Congress to accept her bill. Why? Because it’s funny, the film wants you to believe. I mean, it’s a good cause if you’re an animal lover because testing on animals hurts them and whatnot, but I’m not sure if that factors heavily into his reasoning.
Everything is done for the sake of comedy, which is fine, I suppose, if you don’t need reason, logic and intelligence in your movies. There are a few funny moments, and no cringe-worthy scene like the “Bend and Snap” dance number in the first film, but this is a significantly less enjoyable experience than the first Legally Blonde. There is, however, and even more cringe-worthy montage involving Elle’s former sorority sisters and their campaign into Washington — but that’s worse for a whole other reason: It’s boring and stupid and functions as a deus ex machina, which, somehow, is possible in a film like this.
The only thing that Legally Blonde 2 does over its predecessor is that it doesn’t mix messages. It has one message, one way in which to inspire its viewers, and that’s what it goes with. It doesn’t start with one and then switch midway through, which works in its favor. Really, though, I’m grasping at straws trying to find out one thing that it does well, or give you one reason that you might want to watch it, and I’m coming up empty.
Legally Blonde 2: Red, White & Blonde is a movie that devalues the first installment in the series simply by existing. It makes everything that happened in that movie seem worthless as, for the most part, it ignores it. It’s more of a remake than a sequel, too, going through the same story, with almost identical scenes through and through. It’s even sillier, even cheesier, and it’s harder to take in without cynicism. Reese Witherspoon is the only undeniably enjoyable part, and you almost feel sorry for her that her name is associated with it.