NEW YORK — Blonde ambition wasn’t the only thing highlighted at Monday night’s premiere of “Legally Blonde 2: Red, White & Blonde,” where the red carpet was pink in spirit, thanks to rose-colored hues worn by the likes of Hilary Swank, “Law & Order”’s Stephanie March and LeAnn Rimes.
Even the film’s publicity flacks color-coordinated, turning the entry to the Ziegfeld Theatre into a sea of bottled blonde and precious pink. “I think it’s just the mood of the movie, right?” a strawberry-blonde Rose McGowan said of the color scheme. “I’m a fan of pink, I’m a fan of high-heeled shoes, and I’m a fan of strange-looking dogs, so this hits all the notes for me.” (Click for photos from the red carpet. )
McGowan didn’t have to look hard to find any dogs, either. The film’s breakaway star is a Chihuahua named Bruiser who gives his owner, Elle Wood (Reese Witherspoon’s returning character of the not-so-dumb-blonde variety), a reason to pack her pink suits and head to Washington to fight for animal rights.
Bruiser may not have been present for the carpet action, but other celebs chose to bring their own pooches, like figure skater Oksana Baiul, who brought both her fiancé and her dog, Boopsik. Boopsik bore such a resemblance to Bruiser that he turned the heads of notables such as Sally Field and Donald Trump and also set off the paparazzi, who upon Baiul’s arrival, started angling for the best shot of the wide-eyed dog.
“I love Reese, I love her dog — I think I wanted her dog,” Baiul said, explaining why her fiancé bought the pet. “I’ve watched the first movie like 10,000 times!”
Like the movie, which catapulted Witherspoon to the million-dollar club among Hollywood actresses, fluffy details about hair, clothes and cute little dogs only serve to underscore the film’s larger points, such as flipping stereotypes and championing the underdog. No pun intended.
“It’s such a power-to-the-people kind of story,” director Charles Herman-Wurmfeld said. “It’s so fearlessly pink. It’s so perfect for anyone that was ever held down and winds up on top. It champions the faith in the human spirit, motivates people to get out of their house, maybe even vote.”
Despite being about six months pregnant, Witherspoon made her way down the carpet in a black lace Versace dress and red heels. Accompanied by her husband, Ryan Phillippe, she reiterated the director’s take, saying that her activist spirit led her to continue the project, which may already have another sequel in the works, as well as a midseason replacement show on ABC.
“I thought it was an opportunity to make a film that said something,” she said. “It’s great to be able to do commercial movies, but also be able to have a message that reaches people and really means something.”
Just in case that message gets lost in all the frivolousness, Witherspoon took her character’s cue and fought to make sure marketing tie-ins such as the Legally Blonde Barbie were not only available at a price the average family could afford, but that a portion of the profits would go to the Children’s Defense Fund. “Moms can buy it guilt-free, knowing that the money’s going to a good cause, ” Witherspoon said. “Even if their kids only play with it for a week, it’s a worthy toy to have.”
While Witherspoon extolled the virtues of her thinking mom’s Barbie — and the actions of her Barbie-come-to-life character — some of her co-stars were less concerned with making sure that “Legally Blonde 2″ was portrayed as a message movie.
Her character’s sorority sisters, Jessica Cauffiel and Alanna Ubach, just wanted to have fun — they flirted their way down the red carpet, hugging each other, touching reporters’ hair and joking about the nature of their relationship. “We just got engaged at a same-sex wedding this afternoon,” Cauffiel said, turning to Ubach. “You want to break it on television?”
“Absolutely!” Ubach said, showing off Cauffiel’s “engagement” ring.
But before anyone could accuse Cauffiel of just playing into the stereotype of the dumb blonde, country music star LeAnn Rimes came to her rescue, saying that the movie had served its purpose and that blondes had the right to be both smart and silly.
“This is all about the person and not your hair color,” said Rimes, who sings the movie’s Diane Warren-penned theme song, “We Can.” “There are so many successful blondes, such as Reese and myself, that the stereotype is being knocked over. At least in my generation it is.”