PG-13 for some sex-related humor
July 2, 2003
Reese Witherspoon, Sally Field, Bob Newhart,
Luke Wilson, Regina King
Eve Ahlert, Dennis Drake, Kate Kondell, Amanda
David A. Nicksay, Marc Platt
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Legally Blonde 2: Red, White
By Megan Basham
who've waited all summer for a good piece of bubblegum laced with girl-power,
but didn't want to brave innuendo-laced eye-candy like Charlie's Angels:
Full Throttle, may be more than a little disappointed in Reese Witherspoon's
second sweet treat. Though her character sparkles like the huge pink engagement
ring she wears (looking no less silly on her than it does on J. Lo), this
time her sunshiny optimism and diamond-hard determination hide a decidedly
The film starts out well enough, treating the audience to a puppy-carrier
full of over-the-top sight gags as we get reacquainted with the carnation-colored
world of Elle Woods. A big girl now, with the Harvard law degree and big corner
office to prove it, she's busy making plans for her upcoming wedding to boyfriend
Emmett (Luke Wilson, still sporting the same blank acting style that worked
brilliantly in The Royal Tennenbaums, but here, seems rather sleepy).
It seems like life is destined to be all cotton-candy and couture for the
lady in pink
that is until Elle, like most of the tragically glamorous,
latches on to a skin-deep political cause after finding out that her dog's
mother is being used as a cosmetic test subject (if that wouldn't push a girl
into civic action, I don't know what would). When she brings the subject up
a little too strenuously down at the firm, Elle loses her corporate cush job,
and determines to storm the gates of Washington to become, as the movie's
overly-publicized trailer constantly quips, "Capitol Barbie."
Elle soon finds that things in the stuffed-shirt land of the demagogue are
pretty much the same as they were at Harvard, leaving her little to do but
retrace the steps that warmed the hearts of Britney Spears fans everywhere.
Once again, she gives several mind-numbingly perky speeches, and, once again,
over-starched legal types implausibly stand up and cheer. With no need to
stray from a winning formula, this script's portrayal of affairs of state
is as fanciful as was its predecessor's portrayal of the Ivy League. Instead
of swimming with political sharks, Elle splashes around with guppies that
melt into tears at her stories involving bad haircuts.
But while wriggling around in outfits that make her look more like an over-anxious
Avon lady than a political aide, Elle's got more on her agenda than simply
saving a few pups from the evils of mascara (and it is evil, believe me).
Namely, in her own dimpled way, she also endeavors to let young girls everywhere
know that there's nothing wrong with being homosexual. When her own beloved
Bruiser falls in love with the dog of a conservative representative, Elle
is given the unique opportunity to "enlighten" her loutish colleague:
"Why me?" asks the Rep., whimpering that he told his wife not to
buy a dog in Dupont Circle (a notoriously gay neighborhood in D.C.). But once
Elle with her moon-faced acceptance chirps back, "as long as they're
," he changes his tune and declares to the Energy and Commerce
Committee, "My dog is gay and I couldn't be prouder of the little flamer!"
Beyond the subtext (or really just text in this case) some nominally positive
role-modeling does take place: Elle believes she can do anything through hard
work, and though most of Washingtonians sling derisive insults at her, Elle
never stoops to their level, preferring to win her enemies over with honey
instead of vinegar.
Still, for a comedy, there's a lot more eye-rolling to be had than laughs.
While Blonde 2 does have a smattering of funny moments (such as any
time the camera rests on the puckered face of actress Jennifer Coolidge),
it wastes most of its hilarity potential on the cheapest jokes this side of
the Potomac--why bother bringing in a legendary talent Bob Newhart only to
throw him a few chewed-over bones like an Ebonics bit that was tired when
Steve Martin trotted it out six months ago? After spending two hours watching
such drivel, you may need your own shot of pink--preferably of the Pepto Bismal
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