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LEGALLY BLONDE 2: RED, WHITE & BLONDE

The tipoff was the giveaway goodies at the promotional screening. They were Nivea grooming products ó for men. Thatís when I realized that Elle Woods, hot-pink-clad girly-girl who sees life as a tapas party, and who can solve any problem with her superior knowledge of hair care, is really a gay man trapped in Reese Witherspoonís tiny frame. Similarly, the Legally Blonde movies are really musicals dying to bust out of the confines of their after-school-special plots. But whereas the first Blonde managed to be exactly that kind of exuberant pop confection, this new one sparkles only intermittently. Too often, itís flatter than a six-month-old perm.

When Elle, now a congressional aide pushing an animal-rights bill, gets her first taste of DC, she gushes, "This is just like C-Span, only Iím not bored." Well, I was. Maybe thatís because the plot ó "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington and Gives Everyone a Makeover" ó is less compelling than Elleís transformation in the first movie from passive plaything into assertive Lawyer Barbie. Or maybe itís because new director Charles Herman-Wurmfeld (Kissing Jessica Stein) has little visual panache or sense of rhythm; scenes linger as if someone had forgotten to turn off the camera after everyone left the room. (See, it is just like C-Span.) Witherspoon remains delightful and indefatigable, but as the star and producer, she should have made sure LB2 was as glossy and bouncy as its predecessor. To borrow a metaphor from Elle, who do you blame for a bad coif, the guy who did the cutting or the patron who didnít speak up?

BY GARY SUSMAN

Issue Date: July 4 - July 10, 2003
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