Reese Witherspoon is returning to a beloved role for a long-awaited sequel, and no, it’s not Legally Blonde 3. Witherspoon will reunite with Alexander Payne for Tracy Flick Can’t Win, a sequel to their 1999 cult classic Election, in which Witherspoon plays Type A schemer and general nightmare Tracy Flick. Because the industry is a complete mess right now, this will be a Paramount+ release, not a theatrical film. I lowkey can’t believe Alexander Payne is being relegated to streaming, but we all need to adjust our expectations, because the situation with grown-up movies in the theater is just going to get worse from here.
Tracy Flick Can’t Win is an adaptation of Tom Perrotta’s novel of the same name, which published earlier this year. Perrotta also wrote the novel Election, which Payne adapted into the film. Twenty-some-odd years later, the story catches up with Tracy Flick in middle age, a mother, a vice principal, still a striver reaching for the top job and being frustrated at every turn by mediocrity. I know everyone wants Legally Blonde 3, but I am way more interested to catch up with Tracy Flick, truly a revolting character played with delightful abandon by Witherspoon. I’m interested to see how Witherspoon grows the character, and where Payne’s cynicism level is at these days. Tracy is a complicated character, both victim and persecutor, frustrated by the privilege of others without recognizing her own advantages. She’s unlikeable but not hard to understand. Will Payne and Witherspoon have more sympathy or less for Tracy these days?