Legally Blonde 2: Red, White & Blonde (2003)

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Released 5-Jan-2004

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Comedy Menu Animation & Audio
Audio Commentary-Jennifer Coolidge, Alanna Ubach & Jessica Cauffiel (Actors)
On-Screen Information Track-Trivia Track
Featurette-Blonde Ambition
Featurette-Pretty In Pink
Featurette-Stars and Stripes, Never!
Featurette-Hair Apparent
Featurette-Elle's Anthem
Alternative Version-Original Opening
Deleted Scenes-6
Outtakes-Gag Reel
Music Video-"We Can", LeAnn Rimes, Followed By Soundtrack Spot
Theatrical Trailer
Quiz-Delta Nu Interactive Quiz
Gallery-Photo-Behind The Scenes
Easter Egg-Bruiser's Outtakes and Puppy Love
Booklet-8pp
Rating Rated PG
Year Of Production 2003
Running Time 90:45 (Case: 95)
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (68:22) Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Charles Herman-Wurmfeld
Studio
Distributor

Twentieth Century Fox
Starring Reese Witherspoon
Sally Field
Regina King
Jennifer Coolidge
Bruce McGill
Dana Ivey
Mary Lynn Rajskub
Jessica Cauffiel
Alanna Ubach
J Barton
Stanley Anderson
Bruce Thomas
Bob Newhart
Case Amaray-Transparent-Secure Clip
RPI $39.95 Music Rolfe Kent


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.85:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English
Dutch
Swedish
Finnish
Norwegian
Danish
Portuguese
Greek
Hungarian
Hebrew
Turkish
Slovenian
Croatian
Icelandic
Bulgarian
Romanian
English Audio Commentary
Dutch Audio Commentary
English Information
Dutch Information
Smoking Yes, rare
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits Yes

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    Legally Blonde was a delightful and thoroughly enjoyable movie. That made it inevitable that there'd be a sequel — it's a Hollywood law. Unfortunately, there is no law that says that the sequel must be as good as the original.

    A friend whose opinion I respect told me that she didn't like this film. She felt that it took Elle Woods (Reese Witherspoon) back to where she started, as a ditz, in an attempt to repeat the transformation that was so central to the first film. So I approached this film with considerable trepidation.

    So what's this film like? The opening scenes looked like my fears would be realised, but I came to realise that this film goes further than the first one. The first film is slightly surreal, with events that are a bit larger than life. This film goes further. Quite a bit further. And it works. This film is definitely surreal, and a little disorienting, because it seems to be set in a world similar to our own, but different. Different in that in this world good intentions are contagious, and effective — people can be convinced to do things because they are good or right. In this, it reminds me of the 1960s TV series and movie of Batman, where a rush to the Commissioner's office could be interrupted by a pause to catechise Robin about wearing a seatbelt — that kind of surreal.

    The film starts with Elle working successfully as a lawyer for a prestigious law firm. She's planning her wedding, and will be including everyone she knows (and more besides) — she decides she wants to include the mother of her dog, Bruiser (Moondog). She is horrified to discover that Bruiser's mother is in a cosmetic testing lab. This is the sort of thing that rouses the fighting spirit in Elle Woods. So now she's off to Washington to get legislation passed to outlaw testing cosmetics on animals. She's not the naive sorority girl she was when she arrived at Harvard, but she's still politically naive — she learns the hard way what real politics is about.

    And I think that's what is clever about this story. They don't make Elle a ditzy blonde all over again (despite what my friend thought). What they do is put her in an environment about which she is naive — this works well and is credible because a great majority of the population are blissfully ignorant of the details of passing legislation. Even a lawyer, who may know what the law is, could be understandably ignorant of the process by which the law gets enacted.

    They brought back a number of the characters from the first film: Elle's friends Margot (Jessica Cauffiel) and Serena (Alanna Ubach) return, just as dizzy as ever, with Serena now a Laker Girl; there's Paulette (Jennifer Coolidge), her manicurist, who is now a hairstylist and married to the UPS guy (who gets a non-speaking cameo); and Elle's fiancι, Emmett (Luke Wilson). There's even a cameo of Holland Taylor among the deleted scenes. The new characters we meet are fun, too: Sally Field, as Congresswoman Rudd is her usual excellent self; Bruce McGill, as Congressman Stanford Marks, and Dana Ivey, as Congresswoman Hauser, are Elle's first obstacles to getting her bill a hearing. Elle's colleagues, Grace (Regina King), Reena (Mary Lynn Rajskub), and Timothy (J. Barton), become distinct characters in short order. And Elle's new friend and mentor, Sid Post, is beautifully portrayed by Bob Newhart.

    Just like the first film, Reese Witherspoon wears a different outfit, and a different hairstyle, in every scene. Many of those outfits are pink, but not all. In some of the extras we learn that they went to considerable trouble (and expense) to trace a deliberate time line in these outfits, with a Jackie Kennedy look (complete with pink pillbox hat) one of the most readily recognisable.

    There's a different director this time — it's Charles Hermann Wurmfeld, whose previous feature film was the sweet and entertaining Kissing Jessica Stein. He has taken pains to be true to the character we loved in the first film. If you had to criticize this film, you could argue that he hasn't moved the character forward, but I'm certainly willing to overlook that in a film I enjoyed as much as this one. I think the reason that this film works is the character of Elle, and Reese Witherspoon's impressive performance of her. Elle may be naive, but she is not stupid; she's kind, generous, and well-meaning. She's very easy to like.

    Reese Witherspoon has established her own film production group, called Type A Films, and this is their first big film. She worked as executive producer on the film as well as starring in it.

    The final verdict on the film? Well, it's not quite as good as the first one, but it's lots of fun, and includes plenty of laughs. If you enjoyed Legally Blonde, you may well enjoy this one.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    This movie is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.85:1, which is the intended ratio of the film. It is 16x9 enhanced.

    This film is a touch soft but clear and detailed. Film grain is visible when paused, but no problem in motion. Shadow detail is rather good. There's no low-level noise.

    Colour is very nicely rendered, which is important, given the vivid colours we're shown. There are no colour-related artefacts.

    I was disappointed to see a scattering of small spots of film artefacts on a film this recent. Sure, they are all small and not exactly troubling, but I would have expected this transfer to have been spotless given that the film was released this year.

    There are shots with some aliasing, but it's always minor. There's next to no moirι, only very occasional background shimmer, and no MPEG artefacts. There is no edge enhancement at all.

    There are subtitles in fifteen languages, plus Hearing Impaired captions in English. I only watched the English. They are well-timed and easy to read, but frequently abbreviated — you can get the gist of the story from the subtitles, but you miss out on the subtleties of the dialogue.

    The disc is single-sided and dual layered, formatted RSDL. The layer change is at 68:22, and it's very obvious — it comes just before a scene change and it's a long pause.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

    This disc has just two audio tracks. One is the soundtrack in English Dolby Digital 5.1 at 448kbps. The other is the audio commentary in Dolby Digital 2.0 (surround encoded) at 224kbps.

    The dialogue is clear and comprehensible. There are no audio sync problems of any significance.

    The score, from Rolfe Kent (the same as the first movie), provides an excellent backing to the film. There are some quotes from the score of the previous film in appropriate places. There are a number of songs in the soundtrack, too, some of which have been written specifically for this film, including the theme, written and performed by LeAnn Rimes.

    There is plenty of directional sound across the front, with sound panning across the front. There is score and ambience in the surrounds, but nothing much in the way of directional sound effects. The subwoofer is rarely used (there are a few moments, just to prove that this is 5.1, not 5.0), but it's not exactly relevant to this film.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

    There are plenty of extras, just like the first film.

Menu

    The menu is animated with music, including animated scene selection. It is mostly easy to navigate, except for the extras menu — it is not overly obvious that there is a second (and third) page of extras. The plain triangle (looking like a play button) is the command to go to the second page, while the triangle with a line (looking like a slow-motion button) plays the movie — not the most obvious symbology.

Audio Commentary: actors Jennifer Coolidge, Alanna Ubach, and Jessica Caufiel

    I like commentaries, especially director's commentaries. I've heard some actor's commentaries that have been highly informative. I've heard some that have been amusing. There have been some that I didn't much enjoy. But this is the first one that I fell asleep during — I had to skip back quite a way so I could subject myself to the entire thing. It's really quite stupid. OK, these three women are portraying fairly lightweight characters, but this is too much. They spend a lot of their time making fun of the film. I don't think they say anything worth hearing. I'd recommend giving this one a miss. It's a real shame this isn't the director and Reese Witherspoon.

    The commentary is subtitled in English and Dutch.

Trivia Track

    This is one of those tracks that uses a subtitle track to pop up boxes of trivia. This is usually a fun extra, and one I look forward to, but this is not a very good example of the breed. Quite a few of their items of trivia are quotes lifted from other extras. There are some interesting bits, but there's more than a few that we could do without. Unusually, this trivia track is provided in more than one language: you can choose English or Dutch.

Featurette: Blonde Ambition (22:27)

    This is the making of. It's a top quality effort, with some interesting stuff, and almost nothing in the way of effusive mutual admiration. One of the best parts is the revelation of how much there is in the way of digital effects in this film — you'd never believe it, from watching the film, but the cast and crew didn't go to Washington. The one irritating thing is that they broke off four pieces of this and made them separate featurettes (see the next four extras), probably just to keep the running time under 30 minutes (we all know about the 30 minute rule: anything under 30 minutes counts as promotion, and the actors don't get paid more; anything over and the actors get paid for it...).

Featurette: Pretty in Pink (6:20)

    The production designer, Missy Stewart, talking about the approach they took to the look of this film. Interesting stuff.

Featurette: Stars and Stripes, Never! (7:35)

    The costume designer, Sophie de Rakoff Carbonell, describing the 65 costumes they organised for Elle, and the people (and designers) who inspired them.

Featurette: Hair Apparent (6:56)

    Unsurprisingly, this is about the hair styles that Elle flaunts through this film — the hair stylist had an awful lot of work to do.

Featurette: Elle's Anthem (6:55)

    This shows us the 91 piece orchestra who played the score, and we hear from the composer.

Easter Egg: Bruiser

    This is cute. If you (SPOILER ALERT: highlight with mouse to read) go to the second page of extras, and press Up, you'll highlight a bone. Press Enter and you'll bring up another menu of extras, including 4 entries for Bruiser's Outtakes (total 3:18), and a short piece called Puppy Love (2:24). The outtakes are given separate menu entries (Bruiser's Outtake 1 to Bruiser's Outtake 4), but when you select one it plays the video from that point to the end, so you might as well simply select the first one.

Deleted Scenes

    There are seven deleted scenes, and it's easy enough to see why they were deleted, but they reveal the reason for certain references that remain in the movie.

    The last one is the song-and-dance version of the song that we now hear (without visuals) under the end of the credits — it's rather silly, but fun.

Gag Reel (2:40)

    The usual: muffed lines and playing up for the camera. You get the impression that they really enjoyed making this film.

Music Video: We Can by LeAnn Rimes (4:15)

    This is a fairly normal music video until the last 30 seconds, when we're confronted by the promo spot for the soundtrack album.

Theatrical Trailer (2:01)

    Quite a good trailer, and one which demonstrates the inclusion of deleted scenes in the trailer — we're just watched the deleted scenes, so it's easy to spot them in the trailer...

Delta Nu Interactive Quiz

    A series of questions to determine if you have what it takes to be a Delta Nu. Some of the questions are fairly tough — I hope you were really paying attention. I managed it.

Gallery: Behind the Scenes Photos (2:33)

    A free-running montage of photos taken on set.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    The Region 1 disc hit the street in November, but the Region 4 won't arrive until January. It's worth the wait, though, because the Region 4 disc has significantly more in the way of extras than the Region 1.

    The Region 4 is missing:

    The Region 1 is missing:

    Given that the featurettes are the best extras on the disc, and they only get Blonde Ambition (which runs exactly as long on their disc as on ours, so it can't be incorporating the missing material), that's a definite win to the Region 4 disc on extras. Judging from reports, their transfer is at least as good as ours, but not a heap better (although they may get a better layer change). That makes it look like an overall win to the R4.

Summary

    An enjoyable lightweight comedy, and a sequel that's almost as good as the original, but distinctly more surreal. A nicely presented DVD, except for the layer change.

    The video quality is very good, but not as good as one might expect of a brand new film.

    The audio quality is very good.

    The extras, although plentiful, include a poor commentary and mediocre trivia track. The featurettes are excellent, though.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Tony Rogers (bio-degrading: making a fool of oneself in a bio...)
Sunday, December 14, 2003
Review Equipment
DVDPioneer DV-S733A, using Component output
DisplaySony VPH-G70 CRT Projector, QuadScan Elite scaler (Tripler), ScreenTechnics 110. Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationDenon AVC-A1SE
SpeakersFront Left, Centre, Right: Krix Euphonix; Rears: Krix KDX-M; Subwoofer: Krix Seismix 5

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