There’s not enough here to sustain a half-hour sitcom, but Reese Witherspoon shoulders the burden with star shine to spare. She’s still pretty in pink as Elle Woods, the most unlikely Harvard Law grad ever. But now Elle is marching on Washington to stop cosmetic experiments on animals, especially the mother of her Chihuahua, Bruiser. “Is bill-writing superfun or what?” she asks Congresswoman Rudd (a wasted Sally Field), whose assistant Reena (Mary Lynn Rajskub) can’t get over Elle (“She’s so shiny”). To take on the D.C. backstabbers, Elle enlists the help of a wise doorman (a wonderfully rumpled Bob Newhart) without missing a beat in planning her wedding to Emmett (Luke Wilson). Says a swooning pal, “They’re like Romeo and Juliet without the dying.”
It helps that screenwriter Kate Kondell dots the flat script with funny lines: In Congress, Elle raves, “This is just like C-Span, except I’m not bored.” Director Charles Herman-Wurmfeld had better material in his last film, Kissing Jessica Stein, but Witherspoon treats the stuff like comic gold. On her, even perpetual perkiness looks good.