Legally Blonde 2: Red, White & Blonde: Reese Sequel Mandates Empowerment

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SAME FISH, NEW out-of-water setting. In the two years she's had to capitalize on the original's success, Reese Witherspoon gained the clout to executive-produce Legally

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Legally Blonde 2: Red, White & Blonde: Reese Sequel Mandates Empowerment

  • Legally Blonde 2: Red, White & Blonde: Reese Sequel Mandates Empowerment

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    SAME FISH, NEW out-of-water setting. In the two years she's had to capitalize on the original's success, Reese Witherspoon gained the clout to executive-produce Legally Blonde 2: Red, White & Blonde (which opens Wednesday, July 2, at the Metro and other theaters). In reprising her forever sunny and fashion-forward Elle Woods role, however, she's failed to advance either character or career. Her charming, indefatigable ditsiness worked last time, but here it's not the obstacles that need freshening but Elle. The plot is Ms. Woods Goes to Washington (naive idealist meets and narrowly defeats cynical pols), but when a clip of the 1939 Frank Capra paradigm appears, it only reminds you that studios were once known for the quality of their productnot the might of their marketing. When, to save her precious legislation against animal testing in the cosmetics industry, Reese finally rises like Jimmy Stewart to address Congress, the big moment isn't even funny, since there's nothing at stake. Instead, Reese is speaking over the politicians' heads to her gum-chewing teen constituency. Her treacly, sincere "trust yourself" mantra is so inane that not even Karl Rove would feed such bromides into Dubya's TelePrompTer. It's just top-down self-affirmation blather, the party line according to Chairman Reese. The sheer shoddiness of her off- the-rack speech perfectly embroiders the movie's entire ragged hem. Blonde's Beltway villain, when her face is finally revealed, declares, "The people believe what we tell them to believe." That sums up the entire Reese marketing juggernaut. It's a tautology: You will like her because you like her. She proceeds through the flick, outfit and hair changing in nearly each scene, with the unvarying self-assurance of a fuchsia tank. We loved Reese in Election when she played a scheming bitch. Here, her cheery, all-purpose "be yourself" sloganeering begins to sound like totalitarianism. Either accept her edictdelivered like Evita from a balcony above a cheering, terrified throngor prepare to be crushed. bmiller@seattleweekly.com

     
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