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The Phantom Librarian
Spewing out too many words since November 2003
Legally Blonde, 1, 2, and musical...
Okay, so while I was watching Legally Blonde yesterday, I looked up the sequel on Rotten Tomatoes, to see if I was the only one who disliked it.

I'm not; LB2 has a rotten rating on the tomatometer. But none of the reviews I could access (some have disappeared) seem to have disliked it for the same reason I did.

The reason I liked the first one was the sense of Elle trying to make it on her own terms in a world she didn't quite understand. A critic--rightly, imho--pointed out that this was a movie about a lower class girl trying to enter high society. Yes, Elle's rich, but she's obviously not of an "old family," and judging by her mother's comments about beauty shows and the family's proximity to all things entertainment, I'd guess that the new money they're talking about is not merely new, but attached to something oh-so-crass, like, say, making movies. It's not accidental that the only person she can talk to is a manicurist whose accent identifies her as "lower class" long before we see the trailer she used to live in. (Not sure where in Boston you're allowed to live in an Airstream, but I'll leave that alone for now.) She learns to adapt to her new environment while not ceasing to hold onto her own identiy. Yay. Basic plot--"Let me be myself."

Basic plot of LB2="Hey, since I'm so great, everybody should be like me!" She goes in and decides to remake the culture of congress, get all the workers into her own mindset, and... well, you can see what the issue is. Now, instead of being a scrappy little contender, she's totally self-satisfied and believes that everyone else just needs a wake-up call. This would be as if, in the first one, it had ended with Vivian Kensington getting her hair dyed and bouncing around in heels and saying, "Like, hey, Elle, Warner's a TOTAL butthead." But there was no such transformation. Vivian also continued to be Vivian, even after she dumped Warner and became Elle's friend. (It's very noticeable that, despite the first movie's epilogue end card about how Vivian is now Elle's best friend, Vivian does not appear in the second movie at all--only those who are in the same social class as Elle are allowed to appear in sympathetic roles, and the others must all be transformed.) Even the superficial over-plot about the animal rights bill basically strums this chord: If your priorities aren't my priorities, change them. Instead of a fight against snobbery, it becomes reverse snobbery.


But the critics just disliked it because they recycled jokes. The question of change in theme doesn't even seem to have come up.

Oh, well. In the process, I found out there's a musical (of the first one) on Broadway. If it comes here, I might check it out.
17 comments or Leave a comment
author_by_night From: author_by_night Date: April 8th, 2007 10:34 pm (UTC) (Link)
I don't attribute Vivian's disappearance to class issues as much as I attribute it to "Dead Sidekick Syndrome." (You know - when there's snogging to be done, characters sidekicks no longer matter. Thank god for genfic! ;))

But yeah, there was a bit of "Elle ZOMG CHANGES TEH WORLD." Granted, for a cause, but still... I dunno. I liked the first one, where she changed herself to prove stuff, not the other way around.

thunderemerald From: thunderemerald Date: April 8th, 2007 11:16 pm (UTC) (Link)
Yeah. There's a musical. One of my best friends wrote it.

I know I'm not exactly Objective Opinion Girl in this matter, but the musical is really, really good....

(And I'm sorry you even bothered with the second movie. I really liked the first, but the second was a piece of crap.)
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: April 9th, 2007 02:19 am (UTC) (Link)
I listened to the music at the MySpace page. Sounds kind of neat. :)

Is it touring soon?
thunderemerald From: thunderemerald Date: April 10th, 2007 05:50 am (UTC) (Link)
It is VERY neat.

Well, the tour depends on the success of the Broadway production. And considering that it just started previews last week, and official opening night isn't till the end of the month (and the Tonys aren't till June), that remains up in the air. But I daresay that if it does well (CROSSING MY FINGERS), there'll be tour plans VERY soon.
dreagoddess From: dreagoddess Date: April 9th, 2007 12:33 am (UTC) (Link)
I hated the second one because Elle completely forgot all of her lessons from the first movie. At the end of the first movie, she had learned how to be herself while still making it in the legal world. By the second movie, she became a complete and utter ditz again.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: April 9th, 2007 02:20 am (UTC) (Link)
Yeah, there's that, too--she grew up as herself in the first one, then the second one, she was back to being childish again.
From: (Anonymous) Date: April 9th, 2007 01:34 am (UTC) (Link)
My favorite scene of LB2: The opening, where they're looking at a scrapbook of pictures that ABSOLUTELY COULD NOT HAVE BEEN TAKEN. Was Elle being stalked? Did her father hire a PI to follow her and keep him updated? Who would have photographed the Bend and Snap?![/rant]

That movie made me want to cry.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: April 9th, 2007 02:21 am (UTC) (Link)
Um... maybe one of the customers accidentally caught her?

Uh, yeah. Good point. Major stalkage going on there!
greyathena From: greyathena Date: April 9th, 2007 02:30 am (UTC) (Link)
I have tickets to the musical for next month. :) It's getting great reviews. Anyway, it probably won't launch a tour for about a year? That's how long it generally takes. It hasn't even officially opened on Broadway yet, so not for a while anyway.
bwinter From: bwinter Date: April 9th, 2007 03:37 am (UTC) (Link)
Musical's quite good, in a bubbly Californian way :) Not that I have a DVD of the San Francisco previews or anything...
simmysim From: simmysim Date: April 9th, 2007 12:54 pm (UTC) (Link)
Oh wow, you worded my problems with it perfectly. I really, really can't stand movies where they treat personal opinions/preferences as rights and wrongs. Normally it's the other way around, with Elle being seen as the shallow, idiotic villain, but either way it's annoying and a terrible message to send.
ani_bester From: ani_bester Date: April 9th, 2007 07:41 pm (UTC) (Link)
Wow I couldn't even begin to go into why I hated the second movie . . mostly because about 10 minutes into it, my roommate and I turned it off.
It was jsut . . .no-words bad.

But yeah, you maybe hit the nial on the head there. Rather than rooting for Elle, as I did in the first movie, I just wanted her to SHUT UP.
Because where as in the first movie she was expressing herself but not bossing others around (and was sincere and cute) in this movie she'd become one of those Queen Bee girls who seems to exist only to remind others that if they aren't like her, they're wrong . . . and usually no one in their right mind would really want to be like that, which just makes it worse. *sigh*

kelleypen From: kelleypen Date: April 9th, 2007 08:54 pm (UTC) (Link)
IMDB could benefit from your wisdom . . . seriously, you should post this review there.
elendiari22 From: elendiari22 Date: April 9th, 2007 10:04 pm (UTC) (Link)
This is totally off-topic, but I've been reading your fics a lot lately, and I wondered if you would mind my friending you. Thanks!

emmyaward From: emmyaward Date: April 10th, 2007 01:41 am (UTC) (Link)
That pinpoints pretty much why I disliked the movie. I mean, the entire plot was fairly lame, but the way they changed Elle was just ridiculous, and just put me off entirely.
kiwi_kimi From: kiwi_kimi Date: April 10th, 2007 04:06 am (UTC) (Link)
This is veering away from the point of your post, but did you notice the parallels and references to "Mr Smith Goes to Washington"? We'd watched the latter only a week or two before watching LBII, so they rather leapt off the screen at us, and made the movie somewhat more entertaining than it would otherwise have been.

austenrowling From: austenrowling Date: April 11th, 2007 01:42 am (UTC) (Link)
Its been a while since I've watched LB2, but I do think it wasnt as smart or fresh as the first one.
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