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Begrudgingly Blonde Jailbait

By Agent Bedhead | Film Reviews | May 29, 2009 | Comments ()


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A third installment to the Legally Blonde franchise was always going to be an inherently tough sell, and the filmmakers of Legally Blondes, which tells the uneventful tale of Elle Wood's twin nieces, don't even make the attempt to jump a few hurdles. Rather than even vaguely resembling the first two films, Legally Blondes is perfectly content to, like so many other tween flicks, languish in the shadows of Clueless and Mean Girls. This lifeless Disney Channel-esque sequel was probably always intended to go straight-to-DVD, which is a well-deserved status, for this sequel is so bloody awful that it would probably make Elle Woods decide to go brunette. Not that Legally Blonde 2: Red, White & Blonde was exactly a classic either, mind you. In fact, I found no value in the second film other than as an obligatory sequel that rehashed the original and seemed terribly forced. Still, there is absolutely no excuse for a third installment that does nothing but crap Pepto Bismol onto a photographic background of the Hollywood Hills. That is to say, the filmmakers can't even muster up a blue screen to sort of make the audience believe the characters hang out on a real balcony in Hollywood.

The filmmakers also, fatally, neglect the spirit of the franchise. The beautiful thing about the original Legally Blonde was its gleeful and almost obnoxious portrayal of "blondeness" that worked a humorous and surprisingly subtle subversion of our own expectations for the movie. C'mon, most of us can admit that we liked Legally Blonde a lot more than we thought possible before actually seeing the film. Yet, Elle Woods won us over through a clever screenplay and a winning portrayal by lead actress Reese Witherspoon. Legally Blonde worked because it undermined society's expectations for someone like Elle Woods but still allowed her to be "blonde" while propelling herself up the lawyerly ladder. Even though she had never given anyone reason to truly doubt her potential -- Elle made perfect undergrad grades (in fashion design, but let's see you try it, bitches) and scored well on her LSAT (yes, 179 is basically unachievable, but work with me here) -- no one believed that she could become anything other than the perfect trophy wife. Hell, at the beginning, not even Elle seemed to believe in herself as more than the future Mrs. Warner Huntington III. Then, dickface Warner told Elle that she couldn't even qualify as his wife because she was too much of a "Marilyn" and not a "Jackie." (Incidentally, the only thing I took of value from Legally Blonde 2 was Elle's shamelessly winsome aping of the Jackie O. look.) Eventually, through sheer willpower and hard-hitting the books, Elle made good on what a powerful thing "blondness" can be, and she channeled this power for good and subverted the hell out of everyone's low expectations.

Witherspoon is credited as presenter of Legally Blondes, which means absolutely nothing to this sequel itself. Not even a voiceover, folks. Elle Woods is presumably still doing her well-dressed thing on Capitol Hill and can't even be bothered to greet her successors when they arrive in the United States, but one can hardly blame her. Elle's purported cousins are introduced as twinsies Annabelle/Annie (Camilla Rosso) and Isabelle/Izzy (Rebecca Rosso) Woods. These are merely two spoiled English girls, who are played by the same two actresses who play two spoiled English girls in "The Suite Life of Zack and Cody" in the exact same manner. Since we're working with twins here, the only way to tell the sisters apart is by remembering that Annie prefers "soft pink" and tends to let her hair flow freely. In laughable contrast, Izzy really digs "hot pink" and wears her hair in a ponytail or pigtails. Despite the challenges provided by two different hairstyles, both girls perform a signature move called the "flip and wave" that is supposed to mirror the "bend and snap" but really only functions only to hypnotize the other idiot characters in this film. Honestly, even the girls' twin chihuahuas don't give a shit.

Although Legally Blondes aims to parallel several moments of the first Legally Blonde film, all pathetic attempts to resurrect this franchise are, quite literally, in vain. The filmmakers seem to believe that merely by tossing in a couple of blondes who wear pink, move to a new school, experience hostility, and still manage to win in the end, this is somehow enough. The challenges of working the color pink into prep-school uniforms is so "downright oppressive" and such a bummer, ya know? Then, we find out the twins aren't really that wealthy and have arrived at Pacific Prepatory School on partial scholarship, and, well, that's just so bloody embarrassing. Of course, I'm not sure how the twins managed to secure a scholarship at all, since Izzy seems to believe that David Beckham joining the L.A. Galaxy is just as historically significant as the American Revolution. Most of the film involves the girls living in fear of their peers' discovery of the their scholarship status, and the big lesson in this film is that many of the other kids are on scholarship too. (Mind blowing, isn't it?) Also, if one wants to be a capable barrister, one only simply has to act like one, which is awfully convenient when one of the twins is accused of cheating on a history test, and the other must defend her in a faux-trial for the big finale where a pair of gay-looking shoes, predictably, leads to a major breakthrough on the case. Legally Blondes: The cinematic equivalent of last season's Prada shoes.

Agent Bedhead lives in Tulsa, Oklahoma. She and her little black heart can be found at agentbedhead.com.







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