Reese Witherspoon apparently earned $15m for reprising her role as irrepressible sorority girl turned Harvard law student Elle Woods. Perhaps the fee left the producers unable to afford a new screenplay, as Elle's adventures here bear a striking similarity to those in the unexpectedly successful original. To this end, she's regressed from the competent (if perpetually chipper and pink-clad) student seen at the end of the first film to the ditsy bubblehead awash with pink, fluffy wedding preparations, all too familiar from that film's opening. Again, her sparkling personality and extensive collection of candy floss accessories shake up the grey, buttoned-up establishment. Having left a trail of diamante butterfly hairclips through Harvard Law School, Elle turns her attention to Capitol Hill, where she petitions Congress against animal testing on behalf of beloved chihuahua Bruiser. The depiction of the workings of government is insultingly facile, though this is less of a problem than the cynically recycled jokes falling flat on their second outing. By sheer force of will, Witherspoon manages to make the material better than it deserves, but there's no denying the shortage of laughs. Perhaps this undeniably talented comic actress should pay heed to a rare moment of insight from her character: 'If the material doesn't work with you, don't work with it.'