Thursday, November 1, 2012

Legally Blonde 2: Red, White, and Blonde

Legally Blonde 2: Red, White, and Blonde

Legally Blonde 2: Red, White, and Blonde follows the precedent set forth by the original film and presents several key themes to the audience.  One message that resonates throughout the entire second film is the cliché of “stand up for what you believe in, no matter what.”  In the first scenes of the movie the main character Elle Woods (Reese Witherspoon) makes a presentation to her law firm on behalf of not only her dog, Bruiser, and his mom but all animals that are being used for cosmetic testing.  As the main character, Elle establishes the movie as what author Louis Giannetti describes, in Understanding Movies: Ideology, as an “Explicit ideological film” because these movies “aim to teach or persuade as much as to entertain…and usually an admirable character articulates the values that are really important” to the audience (404-406).  Elle stands up to her colleagues and states her beliefs.  When she realizes that the beliefs of her colleagues in the workplace do not coincide with hers, she makes a choice that working with people who differ from her on such a crucial issue is not something she is able to do (Legally Blonde 2: Red, White, and Blonde Film).  The feelings behind Elle’s speech are what allow this clichéd message to have a deeper emotional (ethos) meaning to the audience members watching. 

Similarly at the end of the movie, Elle delivers another speech to get the votes she needs to pass Bruiser’s Bill.  She uses words with emotional connotations and as Anna Lunsford describes in Everything’s an Argument uses “…emotions to connect…” to the audience on a more thought provoking level (44).  Elle’s entire speech is used to convey her emotions to the audience in such a way that they relate to her.  Incorporating emotionally stirring words in her speech, Elle elucidates a point explained by Lunsford that “…words…that evoke certain emotions in people, they [might] move their audiences to sympathize with ideas that they connect to those feelings and even to act on them” (41).  Elle’s continuing plea to the members of congress to remember to “speak up” reinforces the main clichéd message (Legally Blonde 2: Red, White, and Blonde Film).  Author Louis Giannetti shows that using relatability in “cinema can be a powerful force…” to move the audience to accept the ideas of the movie (404).  This cliché message grabs the hearts and emotions (pathos) not only every member of congress but also every audience member.

In addition to this clichéd message, another message exists that is problematic to the viewer.  The film portrays a fast-paced legislative process that pushes a bill through to law quickly and sends an illogical message to the audience.  Elle arrives in Washington, D.C., starts a new job, writes a bill, has a committee hearing, and acquires two-hundred signatures on a discharge petition to result in Bruiser’s Bill passing as law in only three months.  In contrast, Grace Rossiter (Regina King) who has been working in D.C. as a Chief of Staff for years still is not able to push her bill through during the movie (Legally Blonde 2: Red, White, and Blonde Film).  This time frame is not realistic because bill writing and amending are time consuming activities that sometimes are not completed before congress recesses for the term.  Lunsford notes that “… [accurate] evidence makes your [the] case plausible…,” and without it or with incorrect information the audience can leave the theater less likely to believe in the film (74).  This idealized view of the legislative process does not match up logically (logos) because passing a bill is very difficult especially in the world of congress where a number of different factors can stop a bill from becoming law.

The sequel to Legally Blonde is geared towards young women between ages fifteen to twenty-five.  They are drawn to theaters to see this film because of the “girls just want to have fun” atmosphere that Legally Blonde films always have to offer combined with the enticement of learning a few life lessons throughout the film.  Although the film distorted and condensed some of the logistics regarding the legislative system, the message to stand up for your beliefs no matter what, is a transcending and overriding theme and thus “passes this film as a piece of movie legislation” to be referred to for years to come.


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