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Movie Review

Who loves rhinestone-encrusted shoes, color-coordinated iPods, Gucci’s complete catalogue and anything that’s pink? Why Elle Woods, of course! After graduating from Harvard with a law degree, the perky, pastel-loving California girl is firmly ensconced in a reputable law firm and is planning to marry her utterly adorable fiancé, Emmett. Life couldn’t be better, or blonder. But as life is wont to do, status quo doesn’t stay sunny for long. During a search for the mother of her beloved—and bedecked—Chihuahua, Bruiser, (Elle wants to send her pup’s mom a wedding invitation) she discovers that the canine matriarch is imprisoned in a laboratory where scientists are using her to test cosmetics. Elle decides to use her legal clout to rectify the situation and is immediately fired from her firm for her efforts. What’s a well-coifed girl to do? Head to Washington, D.C., and make cosmetic testing on animals illegal, by gum!

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Positive Elements

While acknowledging the cynicism and pragmatism present in America’s political system, Legally Blonde 2 strongly articulates that a committed idealist can actually effect lasting change. Elle works hard to drum up beltway support, draft a bill and bring it to a vote. It’s no accident, then, that a clip of Jimmy Stewart’s famous speech in Mr. Smith Goes to Washington turns up in Blonde 2. The movie seems to fancy itself as a spiritual remake of Capra’s classic and its similarly populist bent rejects the idea that politics is all "deals and trades and secrets" designed to keep out the common man. (In fact, it’s a "common" doorman who shows Elle the ropes when no one else will help.) "None of us ever thought that one person could make a difference until you came along," a politico’s assistant tells Elle. Audiences get the distinct feeling that when a congresswoman says "you can’t get the people to care" about issues, that it’s a wrongheaded sentiment. The film concludes with a rousing speech from Elle, who says, "I didn’t get involved in the [political] process. I forgot to use my voice. ... I know [now] that one honest voice is louder than a crowd."

Also, Elle’s personal example proves largely positive. Instead of merely complaining about situations, she takes the initiative to change them. She’s fired from her job not for a personal breach, but for believing that upholding the law and championing just causes should be one and the same. She displays terrific perseverance in overcoming obstacles. Unflappable kindness in the face of rudeness is one of Elle’s trademarks; she refuses to react in kind when belittled or mocked. When dealing with conflicting parties, Elle is a natural peacemaker, using a device called "The Snap Cup" to dispense compliments. She bestows courtesy to the most unpleasant people and asks, "What kind of world would this be if we didn’t help each other once in a while?"

Spiritual Content

Elle plans to be married to Emmett on a baseball field by a "recently ordained umpire." When Elle heads off for D.C., Emmett encourages her by saying, "You’re going to do great. ... It’s destiny."

Sexual Content

The movie’s biggest spoiler comes in its endorsement of homosexuality via Bruiser. The male Chihuahua "falls in love" with an equally male rottweiler. The two owners are alerted to the fact when a kennel employee finds the canines "humping." As the rottweiler’s owner (a conservative congressman) laments his pooch’s sexual orientation, Elle concludes the situation is okay "as long as they’re happy." Later, even the congressman accepts his furry friend’s predilections and "outs" the dog to a legislative subcommittee. "My Rottweiler is of the homosexual persuasion," he declares. "I couldn’t be prouder of the little flamer." At one point Elle campaigns for the "Gay Dogs of America" association. When Elle states she "feels like the luckiest girl in the world," an effeminate coworker replies, "Me too!"

One of Elle’s friends laments that she became a lawyer instead of a Playboy Playmate, but is quickly chided for the sentiment. Another friend talks about a nickname her grandmother used while stripping. A congressional employee makes a crude jest about oral sex. Skimpily dressed interns put on a rowdy cheer in support of Elle’s bill. A "woman" in a sorority house looks suspiciously like a transvestite. Two of Elle’s chums appear on the cover of Maxim in S&M garb. A number of characters kiss.

Violent Content

None.

Crude or Profane Language

God’s name is casually abused over a dozen times. Around half-a-dozen profanities crop up (mostly "h---" and "d--n").

Drug and Alcohol Content

Government employees sip what looks to be hard liquor. People sip drinks at a reception. A man smokes a pipe.

Other Negative Elements

While Elle’s highly principled natured should be admired, the particular ideals she champions (the abolishment of cosmetic testing on animals and a cultural acceptance of Bruiser’s homosexuality) are a different matter. At the very least, they aren’t treated with the complexity they deserve and the filmmakers’ bias is easy to spot. Also, one woman makes an unintentionally scatological comment.

Conclusion

"If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it" could have been Legally Blonde 2’s tagline. This style-conscious sequel never treads far from the footsteps of its predecessor (Legally Blonde). The plots for both go like this: A precocious Valley Girl decides to take an unsatisfactory situation into her own hands, encounters countless rude frumps along the way, and learns the value of tenaciousness and hard work. Still, families can applaud the "hard work" part, particularly since this Blonde raises the dedicated citizen above a political process that many hold in low esteem. "Sitting between my teenage daughters while watching Elle take on the U.S. Congress, I was struck by the palpable effect it had on them," notes Salon.com columnist Arianna Huffington. "They left the theater inspired, empowered, and talking about the things they wanted to change and the ways they might be able to change them. None of which would have happened as a result of a lecture from mom." What Huffington fails to mention is that this cinematic "lecture" also includes not-so-subtle homosexual endorsements and misuses of God’s name. That may make Christian parents opt their teens out of this civics lesson.

Pro-social Content

Objectionable Content

Summary Advisory

Plot Summary

Christian Beliefs

Other Belief Systems

Authority Roles

Profanity/Violence

Kissing/Sex/Homosexuality

Discussion Topics

Additional Comments/Notes

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