Legally Blonde 2 Pale by Comparison

Legally Bland | Beyoncé With a Bullet

Legally Blonde 2 Pale by Comparison

You know, they should never let anyone make a sequel, especially to a hit comedy. But the hands of Hollywood moguls wring with greed: If Rush Hour 2 can be so much bigger than Rush Hour, certainly this can happen again.

Ah, but lightning does not strike twice.

I'm not going to knock Legally Blonde 2: Red, White and Blonde. There's no point to it. Is it insipid? Yes. Is it a mess of comedic genres glommed together to little effect? Is it as good as LB? Not possible. Will it matter to scads of 11-year-old girls? Absolutely not.

LB2 is a movie for pre-teens, especially and foremost females. This isn't to say that parents looking for a benign way to spend time with such a child won't find the movie mildly amusing. It is almost funny enough for an adult to appreciate what it might have been.

What it's not is a movie for adults without children or even 18-year-olds. It is also not a movie for lawyers, congressmen, law students or law professors. If the United States government ran this way, we'd be in a heckuva lot of trouble. Uh, wait. Scratch that. You get what I mean.

Reese Witherspoon made a late entrance at both the Ziegfield screening last night and the sumptuous after party set up at Christie's auction house in Rockefeller Center. Reese is about six months pregnant and glowed in a black dress with bright red lipstick.

She signed autographs asked for by plenty of little girls, but did not want to give interviews or "do" press. I asked her how she liked making her next movie, Vanity Fair, based on the classic novel.

"I like it a lot," she said. Did she read the book? "I did," she said.

How did she adapt her pregnancy to the plot line? "Becky's pregnant in part of the story," she said, and that was the end of our interaction.

She signed a pink polka-dotted pillow offered by a little girl and took a picture with her.

At a table to the right of where we stood, actor Breckin Meyer was chatting with a friend who wore a low-slung grey cap. This turned out to be Ryan Phillippe, Reese's husband and father of their daughter -- all of which is pretty conventional in today's Hollywood.

Phillippe is and always has been extremely pleasant. So what's he been up to?

"Not much actually. We've been living in England shooting Vanity Fair, but I'm going to get back to work soon." In case you're interested the Phillippes do not know the sex of the new child yet. "We're going to find out pretty soon," he said.

Elsewhere around the Ziegfeld or Christie's I ran into editor Tina Brown with her 17-year-old son George and her 18-year-old nephew Ben from Australia.

LB2 co-star Luke Wilson -- who's also in Charlie's Angels and a bunch of other summer films playing himself, essentially a nice guy who tolerates his kooky girlfriend -- let himself be licked with praise by many attractive brunettes.

Actor Jared Harris was there, on his night off from the hit Broadway play Humble Boy. Oksana Baiul posed for a lot of pictures. Magician David Copperfield roamed around, as did some minor celebrities.

The biggest name by far was Academy Award winner Hilary Swank with husband, actor Chad Lowe. Hilary -- turning into an even softer beauty as she edges slowly toward 30 -- has a great sense of humor. After picking up her free popcorn, she managed to grab one of the pieces on top with her tongue. "Isn't that nice?" she said, laughing at herself. "You didn't know I could do that, did you?"

I might have talked to Sally Field, who has a decent sized role in LB2 as a congresswoman, but she skedaddled rather than watch a whole room of otherwise normal looking people gravitate toward Reese Witherspoon.

That's too bad since I wanted to ask Field what she thought looking at this and then reflecting on her great moments in film history. Of course, her critics can always trot out The Flying Nun, and LB2 might not look so bad by comparison.

Does it matter that the movie takes place in Boston and Washington, but that you never see either locale? Eh: "Whatever," might be the response.

Does it matter that the passing of a bill is made to seem akin to a high school prom-planning meeting? Well, what do I know? Is it a problem that a Chihuahua steals LB2 from all the human actors without any trouble? Hey, I think that was the whole point. Could I just kick someone for wasting Bob Newhart in one of his few movie appearances? You betcha.

So: drifting around Christie's in a sea of famished LB2 viewers I had the pleasure to meet a real comic writer, director and actor with real talent: David Steinberg. He is to LB2 as Strindberg is to 50 Cent.

Steinberg became famous in the late '60s with the Smothers Brothers as a performer, then went on to become a top director of only the very best comedies in Hollywood.

Steinberg directed many episodes of Seinfeld and now works mostly on Larry David's Curb Your Enthusiasm. Steinberg was able to curb his own about LB2 (he praised the dog). Otherwise it was hard to know what to say to him considering the circumstances. It was as if the maitre d' of the old Le Cirque had wandered into Tad's Steaks.

What did he have to say about Larry David? Only the nicest things.

(Rats!) "It's like he's my mentor except I was his mentor," Steinberg said. "He's not much like the Larry on TV, which is good."

Beyoncé Bounces Into No. 1

Beyoncé  Knowles has the number one album this week, with her solo debut Dangerously in Love. The album boasts the No. 1 single, too, called "Crazy in Love."

Some people with long memories might think "Crazy" sounds familiar. If they do, it's because the single is heavily sampled from a 1969 hit by my friends, The Chi Lites, out of Chicago. The song was called "Are You My Woman?" and I can tell you that Chi Lites leader Marshall Thompson has quickly resurrected the long dormant song. It now opens the Chi-Lites' live shows.

As you know, Beyonce was/is part of Destiny's Child. Another member of the group is Kelly Rowland, a talented singer who's been recording with the rapper Nelly. In the hip-hop world, the consensus is that Nelly and Kelly are an item. But Kelly was overheard explaining to many last night, "We're just friends." Hey -- friends are hard to come by.

See you Thursday.