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Legally Blonde 2: Red, White & Blonde

An even sweeter and lighter whipped confection than LEGALLY BLONDE, this hugely enjoyable sequel serves up a generous second helping of the ingredient that made the original such an irresistible hit: the sparkling Reese Witherspoon. Now a promising attorney with a prestigious Boston law firm, the irrepressible and ever fashion-forward Elle Woods (Witherspoon) is busy planning her upcoming wedding to Harvard Law professor Emmitt Richmond (Luke Wilson) when she learns of the horrible fate of one of her most important guests. The mother of Elle's beloved Chihuahua, Bruiser, is being held captive at a lab where animals are used to test "C'est Magnifique" cosmetics. The company is one the firm's clients, and naively believing that ethics have something to do with the law, Elle begs the senior partners to do right by the animals. First they laugh, then they fire her. Bowed but unbroken, the indomitable Elle picks herself up, dusts herself off and points her powder-blue Audi TT Roadster in the direction of the one place she believes a single voice can make a difference: Washington, D.C. As a legislative aide to Congresswoman Rudd (Sally Field), Elle hopes to push "Bruiser's Bill" through Congress and ban animal testing altogether. True to LEGALLY BLONDE's fish-out-of-water formula, Elle finds herself a bright pink guppy in a sea of pin-striped sharks. She's warmly embraced by Congresswoman Rudd and befriended by an in-the-know hotel doorman (Bob Newhart), but gets a cool reception from her fellow congressional aides, and Elle's first appearance before the Energy and Commerce committee is an unmitigated disaster. But fear not: Elle shall overcome, thanks to graceful manners, unflagging optimism and sorority house connections. Elle not only wins over her jaded colleagues, she gives the House of Representatives a much needed make over — with a little help from cosmetologist Paulette (Jennifer Coolidge, the movie's secret weapon) — restores our nation's badly shaken faith in the democratic process and plans a fabulous wedding. The film gleefully acknowledges that it's a candy-coated reworking of Frank Capra's classic MR. SMITH GOES TO WASHINGTON. The joke, of course, is that the great populist hero of our times should turn out to be "just a small town girl from Bel Air." But the genius of Witherspoon's performance is that she keeps you rooting for Elle every last improbable step of the way, and the film would be nothing without her. Lit with a soft pink aura that surrounds her as she wiggles her way through Washington, Witherspoon quite literally glows.