Directed by Charles Herman-Wurmfeld, starring Reese Witherspoon, Sally Field, Luke Wilson, Bob Newhart, Regina King and Jennifer Coolidge.

Reese Witherspoon again shines in the role that catapulted her onto the Hollywood A-list two years ago. In her latest offering she displays the perfect character to further endear blonde Bel-Air beauty queen Elle Woods to our hearts. Making the step-up to executive producer for this sequel Witherspoon is a natural as the perky LA lawyer, bringing a charisma to the screen that is usually lacking in such chick flicks.

Elle Woods is making a name for herself in the legal world, still strutting her stuff in the courtrooms in little pink numbers. Last time out she was expecting a marriage proposal. This time she is sure she is in line for a promotion, but in the world of Elle, things are never that simple and the girl with the best French polished nails in town gets fired. To make matters worse, Elle is also frantically trying to plan her wedding to former tutor Emmett Richmond (Wilson).

The sequel reunites many of the cast of the original movie, including Elle's canine best friend, Bruiser, who inspires the storyline. When Elle attempts to trace the Chihuahua's mother in order to invite her to the wedding, she stumbles upon a cosmetics animal testing lab and is horrified. Deciding to take matters into her own hands, she goes on a mission to Washington to try to introduce a bill to have animal testing banned.

But Washington isn't quite ready for Elle with her strappy sandals and outspoken attitude and she has her work cut out trying to get anyone to take her seriously. Congresswoman Victoria Rudd (Field) agrees to support the determined young lawyer in her quest to save Bruiser's mother but all is not straightforward in DC. Enlisting the help of a wise old doorman Sidney (Newhart), and befriending members of Congress in beauty salons, Elle is determined to prove everyone wrong.

With classic one-liners, Witherspoon turns in the kind of performance that has typified her career to date. One scene sees her picking out an outfit for her first day of Congress to the mutter: "Too Nancy, too Hillary, too Monica, too perfect for words!," as she settles on a Jackie Kennedy tribute. If possible, 'Legally Blonde 2' is funnier than the first, with the kind of feelgood humour that makes you smile as you leave the cinema. It turns convention on its head for the sake of a happy ending, but manages to do so without being completely predictable throughout.

Linda McGee