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MGM

MOVIE INFO

Director:
Charles Herman-Wurmfeld
Cast:
Reese Witherspoon, Luke Wilson, Sally Field, Bob Newhart, Regina King, Jennifer Coolidge, Bruce McGill, Dana Ivey
Writing Credits:
Amanda Brown (characters), Eve Ahlert, Dennis Drake, Kate Kondell

Tagline:
Bigger. Bolder. Blonder.

Synopsis:
When Elle (Witherspoon) discovers that her lovable chihuahua Bruiser's mom is locked in a cruel animal testing facility, she heads to D.C. to fight for animal rights, give Washington a makeover, and prove once and for all that America really is the land of the free ... and the home of the blonde!

Box Office:
Budget
$45 million.
Opening Weekend
$22.220 million on 3350 screens.
Domestic Gross
$89.808 million.

MPAA:
Rated PG-13

DVD DETAILS
Presentation:
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
Audio:
English DTS-HD MA 5.1
Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1
French DTS 5.1
Portuguese Dolby Surround 2.0
German DTS 5.1
Italian DTS 5.1
Castilian DTS 5.1
Russian DTS 5.1
Thai DTS 5.1
Subtitles:
English
French
Spanish
Portuguese
Danish
Finnish
German
Italian
Dutch
Norwegian
Russian
Castilian
Swedish
Thai
Closed-captioned
Supplements Subtitles:
None

Runtime: 95 min.
Price: $19.98
Release Date: 3/29/2011

Bonus:
• Audio Commentary With Actors Jennifer Coolidge, Alanna Ubach, and Jessica Cauffiel
• Deleted Scenes
• “Blonde Ambition” Featurette
• “Pretty in Pink” Featurette
• “Stars and Stripes Never!” Featurette
• “Hair Apparent” Featurette
• “Elle’s Anthem” Featurette
• “Puppy Love”
• “Bruiser’s Outtakes”
• Gag Reel
• Music Video
• Trailers


PURCHASE @ AMAZON.COM

EQUIPMENT
Panasonic 50" TH-50PZ77U 1080p Plasma Monitor; Sony STR-DG1200 7.1 Channel Receiver; Panasonic DMP-BD60K Blu-Ray Player using HDMI outputs; Michael Green Revolution Cinema 6i Speakers (all five); Kenwood 1050SW 150-watt Subwoofer.

RELATED REVIEWS


Legally Blonde 2: Red, White, and Blonde [Blu-Ray] (2003)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (April 5, 2011)

With a gross of $95 million, 2001’s Legally Blonde didn’t exactly set box office registers on fire. However, as a low-budgeted flick onto whom few attached any expectations, the flick’s performance made it a sleeper hit and established Reese Witherspoon as a star who could sell tickets all on her own.

With the requisite elevated budget, Legally Blonde 2: Red, White and Blonde went into production. It brought heightened expectations along with it, which the film lived up to reasonably well. Its $89 million gross didn’t quite match that of the original, but it came pretty close and marked Blonde 2 as a moderate success.

Methinks the flick might have done better if the filmmakers had bothered to do something more than just remake the original. Having mastered law school, Elle Woods (Witherspoon) gets engaged to her former professor Emmett Richmond (Luke Wilson) and enjoys her life as a lawyer. As she plans her wedding, she decides she needs her dog Bruiser’s birth mother to attend the ceremony. She hires a private detective who locates Bruiser’s mom.

After a misunderstanding, Elle discovers that Mrs. Bruiser is trapped at an animal cosmetics testing lab. They won’t let her go, so Elle seeks to get her law firm to pursue the matter, but her bosses show no interest. When she expresses her feelings, they fire her.

After a brief period of depression, Elle decides to change the system from within, and she pursues a career in Washington. She gets a job with fellow sorority sister Congresswoman Rudd (Sally Field) and tries to push legislation to ban animal testing. Along the way, she encounters a lot of resistance, especially from fellow aide Grace Rossiter (Regina King). It’s up to Elle to work her magic and win over all her opponents.

When ones watches Blonde 2, one gets a terrible sense of déjà vu. The story finds Elle in a different place with some different motivations, but it essentially does little more than regurgitate the first flick’s plot. That one found Elle as a fish out of water who had to prove her worth, especially as opposed by a bitchy female who views her as an inferior. Blonde 2 does exactly the same thing, except in a more feeble manner.

That stems from the two issues. For one, Elle probably should have learned some tendencies to tone down her act over the years. Yeah, the first flick taught us to be ourselves, but there’s no way Elle could do so well without some compromise in her flamboyancy. Unfortunately, Blonde 2 doesn’t display that at all. If anything, Elle seems even more cartoony and over the top here.

Actually, all of the characters come across as artificial in the sequel. None of them seemed three-dimensional in the original movie, but they appear very broad and plastic here. The actors relentlessly overplay their lines, as if they recognize the cheesiness of the material and attempt desperately to make it work. The film also infuses the tale with a ridiculously high level of cutesy elements that make it tough to take.

Because of this, the movie goes out of its way to make the story serve the jokes rather than the other way around. For example, we get cracks like Paulette’s about her stripper grandmother. This comes out of nowhere and feels forced. Much of the flick’s attempted humor follows along the same lines, as the gags are disconnected from the thin plot.

The original film didn’t do much to stand out from the crowd, but Witherspoon helped redeem it. She tries her best here to make the movie lively, but even she can’t elevate this exercise in tedium. Bob Newhart also gives the film a little more zing, but not enough. A bland rehash of the first movie, Legally Blonde 2 falls flat and fails to recapture any of its predecessor’s minor charm.


The Blu-ray Grades: Picture C-/ Audio B-/ Bonus B

Legally Blonde 2: Red, White and Blonde appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.85:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. I was surprised that a fairly recent movie looked so drab.

Sharpness was a concern. At best, the movie demonstrated adequate definition, but it never seemed especially concise or dynamic. Instead, the image tended toward a sense of blandness; the image was usually fairly soft and listless. I noticed no issues with jaggies or moiré effects, and edge haloes remained absent. Source flaws were an issue, though; the movie suffered from occasional instances of specks and marks. These weren’t heavy, but they were more noticeable and frequent than expected.

Colors should’ve offered a strong aspect of Blonde 2, but they didn’t. Mainly due to Elle’s ever-changing wardrobe, the film boasted a broad and varied palette, but the Blu-ray failed to deliver vivid, lively tones. The colors tended to be dull and murky. Blacks were flat, while shadows seemed somewhat muddy and dense. I thought the image was still good enough for a “C-“, but it nearly fell into “D” range; it was a problematic presentation for such a modern flick.

Most comedies maintain subdued soundtracks, and the DTS-HD MA 5.1 mix of Legally Blonde 2 fell into that category. The soundfield remained largely anchored in the front realm. The forward channels provided decent stereo imaging for music and effects, as sounds appeared in the appropriate locations and blended together efficiently. Not a lot of movement occurred across the speakers, but the mix seemed reasonably well integrated nonetheless.

As for the surrounds, they offered light reinforcement of music and effects at most. Frankly, I usually wasn’t really aware that any audio came from the rears; the mix really did stick strongly with the front speakers. We got material like echo in the chambers of Congress as well as some ambience, but tnot much opened up the back channels.

Although the soundfield seemed bland, the quality of the audio helped compensate for any shortcomings. Dialogue appeared consistently natural and distinct, and I detected no problems related to edginess or intelligibility. Effects played a minor role in the film, but they sounded accurate and clean, with reasonable presence and no signs of distortion.

Music worked fairly well, as the score presented good clarity. Highs seemed crisp and bright, while bass was acceptably rich and warm. Some of the flick’s pop songs were too trebly, but those caused no significant issues. In the end, the audio was nothing special, but it suited the film well.

How did the picture and sound of this Blu-Ray compare with those of the original 2007 DVD? Both seemed similar, which was fine for the audio – I didn’t expect a whole lot of extra whiz-bang from the lossless track – but the lack of visual upgrade disappointed. The Blu-ray probably boasted a bit more definition, but not as much as one would expect. This is a drab visual presentation without the zing I want from Blu-ray.

The Blu-ray includes most of the same extras from the DVD as well as some additional ones. We open with an audio commentary from actors Jennifer Coolidge, Alanna Ubach, and Jessica Cauffiel. All three sit together for this running, screen-specific track. I went into this piece with low expectations, especially since the three performers appear so infrequently in the film. However, they provide a surprisingly amusing and entertaining discussion.

Given their limited time onscreen, the trio doesn’t tell us a ton about the production. Occasional tidbits emerge, but they mostly give the flick the MST3K treatment. They don’t often provide openly snotty comments, and they present a moderate amount of praise for the participants, though not nearly as much as I anticipated. Coolidge makes sure of that, as she offers more than a few comically snide remarks. The track suffers from only a few slow spots, and it generally gives us a funny piece, even though it includes little data about the movie itself.

Next we find a featurette entitled Blonde Ambition. It runs 22 minutes and 25 seconds and presents the standard mix of movie snippets, behind the scenes shots, and comments from producers Marc Platt and David Nicksay, co-producer Jennifer Simpson, director Charles Herman-Wurmfeld, director of photography Elliot Davis, visual effects supervisor Raymond McIntyre Jr., and actors Reese Witherspoon, Bob Newhart, Sally Field, Alanna Ubach, and Jessica Cauffiel. The program covers topics like issues connected to the sequel, new cast members, location challenges, visual effects and lighting Witherspoon. Much of this falls into the category of fluff, but some decent information appears at times. It’s a decent featurette but nothing unusually good.

A few featurettes exclusive to the Blu-ray follow. Pretty in Pink goes for six minutes, 36 seconds and offers remarks from Herman-Wurmfeld, Platt, production designer Missy Stewart, and art director Mark Worthington. The show looks at set design and other visual/color choices. It delivers a tight, informative take on the topics.

Via the seven-minute, 35-second Stars and Stripes Never!, we hear from Herman-Wurmfeld, Witherspoon, Platt, Nicksay, Cauffiel, Ubach, and costume designer Sophie de Rakoff Carbonell. This one investigates Elle’s wardrobe and other costume option. Like “Pink”, the program provides a fun, interesting discussion of the film’s broad clothing selection.

Hair Apparent runs six minutes, 56 seconds and features Platt, Witherspoon, Herman-Wurmfeld, and hair stylist Anne Morgan. No surprise here: the featurette covers various hairdos seen in the flick. It moves nicely and offers some useful notes.

For the next featurette, we locate Elle’s Anthem. It occupies seven minutes, 13 seconds with info from composer Rolfe Kent. He talks about the score and its use in the film. Once again, we find another solid little program, so expect positive details from the composer.

Two dog-related Blu-ray exclusives come next. Puppy Love fills two minutes, 24 seconds with notes from Witherspoon, Herman-Wurmfeld, and actor Bruce McGill. It discusses canine homosexuality and some aspects of the shoot. I like McGill’s comment about his performance, but otherwise this is a pretty useless piece.

Lastly, we discover Bruiser’s Outtakes. This area includes four reels that last a total of three minutes 21 seconds. In all of them, we see Moondoggie perform as Bruiser. These are relentlessly adorable and more entertaining than anything in the final movie. (My dog Biscuits didn’t like them, though; she growled and barked when she watched Moony strut his stuff.)

After this we come to seven deleted scenes. These last a total of nine minutes, 31 seconds of footage. Some of these better set up the Congresswoman Rudd character and her relationship with Elle. A few others spell things out a little more clearly than in the final film, though not in a necessary way; the flick communicates the exposition acceptably well without these extra segments. Except for the alternate Congress piece meant for the end – a painful “Snap Cup Song” - none of the deleted scenes seem bad, but all were appropriate cuts.

More unused footage shows up via the Gag Reel. The two-minute, 47-second piece consists of the usual nuttiness and mistakes. It’s pretty lame.

Don’t expect much from the music video for LeAnn Rimes’ “We Can”. Like most of this genre, it intercuts movie snippets with lip-synch footage of Rimes. She looks pretty good, but it remains a dull video.

The film’s theatrical trailer finishes the set. Does the Blu-ray drop anything from the DVD? Yup – it axes in interactive quiz and some photo galleries.

Little more than a listless remake of the original, Legally Blonde 2 lacks any spark or creativity, and it seems like a dull and pointless affair. Not even Reese Witherspoon’s relentless energy can make this one tolerable. The Blu-ray provides pretty good audio and supplements but visual quality disappoints. The Blu-ray becomes a flawed release for a forgettable movie.

To rate this film, visit the Special Edition review of LEGALLY BLONDE 2: RED, WHITE & BLONDE

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Review Archive:  # | A-C | D-F | G-I | J-L | M-O | P-R | S-U | V-Z | Viewer Ratings | Main