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Blu-ray Review HTF BLU-RAY REVIEW: Legally Blonde 2: Red, White & Blonde

Discussion in 'Blu-ray and UHD' started by Matt Hough, Mar 29, 2011.

  1. Matt Hough

    Matt Hough Executive Producer

    Apr 24, 2006
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    Charlotte, NC
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    Matt Hough
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    Legally Blonde 2: Red, White, & Blonde (Blu-ray)
    Directed by  Charles Herman-Wurmfeld

    Studio: MGM
    Year: 2003
    Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1   1080p   AVC codec  
    Running Time: 94 minutes
    Rating: PG-13
    Audio: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 English; Dolby Digital 5.1 Spanish; DTS 5.1 French
    Subtitles:  SDH, French, Spanish

    Region:  A
    MSRP:  $ 19.99

    Release Date: March 29, 2011

    Review Date: March 29, 2011



    The Film



    For every The Godfather, Part II, Aliens, or Toy Story 2 and 3, there are scores of sequels that should never have been made. Charles Herman-Wurmfeld’s Legally Blonde 2: Red, White, & Blonde is one such sequel. Everything that was cute, funny, or appealing about the original film has been stretched, distorted, and made even more ridiculous by this insufferable, unnecessary revisit to the ditzy/smart world of Elle Woods. Characters are overdrawn, plotting is absurd (despite the good intentions of a light satire aimed at Congress), and the whole mishmash just a dizzying blur of pink frocks, blonde hair, and perky uplift that’s as artificial as it is nauseating.


    When new lawyer Elle Woods (Reece Witherspoon) learns that animals (including the birth mother of her beloved chihuahua Bruiser) are being used in cosmetics laboratory experiments, she makes it her job to have such testing banned, but to do that, she must go to Washington, D.C. and seek a post in the office of sorority sister Congresswoman Victoria Rudd (Sally Field) who’s also against using animals in laboratory experiments. She butts heads with Rudd’s top aide Grace Rossiter (Regina King), a no nonsense legal beagle who resents Elle’s perky personality granting her inroads to congressmen she’s worked months to try to see about her own projects, but others in the office (Mary Lynn Rajskub, J. Barton) come on board the Elle Express rather quickly. Little does Elle know, however, that Ms. Rudd’s major campaign contributors are large stockholders in the companies using the test animals, so Rudd begins working behind Elle’s back to sabotage her campaign to get the law passed.


    For those who adored the optimistic do-gooder aspects of the original Legally Blonde, you’ll get more of the same with this sequel, and much of the narrative trajectory of the first film is repeated here: outsiders assuming Elle is just a dizzy blonde not worth paying attention to and being made to eat crow by her plucky, take-no-prisoners approach to winning people over, the outrageously pink outfits for herself and her dog (who goes with her everywhere), a villain always in the shadows working against Elle who manages to triumph over any and all adversity. Eve Ahlert, Dennis Drake, and Kate Kondell may have concocted the story for the film and set Elle down in a different city and with different problems, but nothing is really much changed from the original in tone or texture making this a sequel made only for financial reasons rather than artistic ones. Director Charles Herman-Wurmfeld uses split screen a fair amount of the time to give the film some momentum, but Elle’s old friends from Boston (Jennifer Coolidge, Luke Wilson) and Bel Air (Jessica Cauffiel, Alanna Ubach) give such a feel of déjà vu to the project that even the new locations and the (shocking!) revelation that Brusier is gay don’t add anything of merit to an already digested, overdone stew.


    She may be finished with law school now, but this Elle Woods is no different from the one in the previous film as Reece Witherspoon plays her with no discernible maturation or subtlety. Sally Field does what she can with the two-faced Representative Rudd, but her character does so many about-faces during the course of the film that poor Ms. Field must have incurred whiplash. The always interesting Regina King plays a rather drab sourpuss for most of the movie while Bruce McGill and Dana Ivey, both excellent actors, are trapped with one-dimensional congressperson parts they could do in their sleep. Bob Newhart cameos effectively as a hotel doorman with all the inside scoop on Washington biggies though Elle’s Boston and California friends played by Jessica Cauffiel, Alanna Ubach, and Jennifer Coolidge have much less successful material in the sequel than they had in the original. Luke Wilson as Elle’s fiancé likewise remains an also-ran in the film popping up at odd moments but not really integrated into the story much until the wedding finale.



    Video Quality



    The film is presented in its theatrical aspect ratio of 1.85:1 and is offered in 1080p using the AVC codec. The image is clear and clean, and colors are nicely saturated without going too much into the realms of the cartoony (the actors do that all on their own). Sharpness is very good but not as razor sharp as one might be expecting, and some stock footage of real Washington locations (the movie’s D.C. locations were shot with Salt Lake City subbing for the nation’s capital) look a bit drab and soft in comparison to the rest of the picture. Flesh tones look natural, and black levels are excellent. The film has been divided into 32 chapters.



    Audio Quality



    The DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 sound mix is typically for a comedy directed toward the front soundstage. Even the music score by Rolfe Kent doesn’t get the complete surround treatment one might be expecting. Yes, there are some sounds directed to the rears (cheers during the Million Dog March sequence, for example), but otherwise, the surround channels aren’t exploited to the max, and the LFE channel is on vacation here.



    Special Features



    The audio commentary is provided by Jessica Cauffiel, Alanna Ubach, and Jennifer Coolidge, and it’s one of the poorer and less interesting ones I’ve run across in some time. The three ladies natter about this and that as the film unspools, but as their participation is rather limited, they spend their time commenting on minutiae of little interest.


    All of the video featurettes are presented in 480i unless otherwise noted.


    There are seven deleted scenes which can be viewed together in one 9 ½-minute grouping or individually.


    “Blonde Ambition” is the film’s 22 ½-minute making of documentary. Producers Marc Platt and David Nicksay, director Charles Herman-Wurmfeld, actors Reese Witherspoon, Sally Field, and Bob Newhart, and cinematographer Elliot Davis discuss various aspects of the new film including shooting in and around Salt Lake City.


    “Pretty in Pink” introduces us to production designer Missy Stewart and art director Mark Worthington (along with director Charles Herman-Wurmfeld) who discuss the sets and locations for the filming of the movie. It runs 6 ½ minutes.


    “Stars and Stripes, Never” finds producer Marc Platt, director Charles Herman-Wurmfeld, actress Reece Witherspoon, and costume designer Sophie de Rakoff Carbonell discussing the wardrobe for Elle and the other characters in the film in this 7 ½-minute production featurette.


    “Hair Apparent” once again has director Charles Herman-Wurmfeld along with the film’s hair stylist discussing the various looks for the wigs which Reece Witherspoon wore throughout the movie (typifying various political eras). This piece runs 7 minutes.


    “Elle’s Anthem” is a 7 ¼-minute vignette on the composing and recording of the film’s music track. Composer Rolfe Kent states his concepts about themes for the various characters that he originated.


    The film’s gag reel runs 2 ¾ minutes.


    “Puppy Love” is a silly 2 ½-minute plea for understanding for gay dogs everywhere.


    There are four outtake scenes with Moondoggie (who plays the dog Bruiser in the movie) which must be viewed separately. They runs 1 ½, 1, ½, and ½ minutes respectively.


    The music video “We Can” as performed by LeAnn Rimes runs for 3 ¾ minutes.


    The film’s theatrical trailer is presented in 1080p and runs for 2 ¼ minutes.



    In Conclusion

    2.5/5 (not an average)


    Unworthy of its parent film, Legally Blonde 2: Red, White & Blonde comes to Blu-ray (where’s the much superior original on Blu-ray?) with its standard definition bonus features intact and a nice high definition rendering of its video and audio components.




    Matt Hough

    Charlotte, NC

  2. Adam Gregorich


    Nov 20, 1999
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    The Other Washington
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    Thanks for the review Matt. If you have ever written a more elegant diss of a film I have yet to find it (not counting that odd Criterion ):

    I too wonder why this made it out on Blu-ray before the original.

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