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Other notable films of hers include Legally Blonde 2: Red, White & Blonde (2003), Monsters vs.
In 2003, Witherspoon followed up the success of Legally Blonde by starring in the sequel Legally Blonde 2: Red, White & Blonde.I would audition for things and I'd always be the second choice—studios never wanted to hire me and I wasn't losing the parts to big box office actresses but to ones who I guess people felt differently about." The 2001 film Legally Blonde marked a turning point in Witherspoon's career; she starred as Elle Woods, a fashion-merchandising major who decides to become a law student in order to follow her ex-boyfriend to Harvard Law School. In 2002, after the success of Legally Blonde, Witherspoon starred in several roles, such as Greta Wolfcastle in The Simpsons episode "The Bart Wants What It Wants", and as Cecily in the comedy The Importance of Being Earnest, a film adaptation of Oscar Wilde's play in which she received a Teen Choice Award nomination.Witherspoon said about the role, "When I read Legally Blonde, I was like, 'She's from Beverly Hills, she's rich, she's in a sorority. Later that year, she starred with Josh Lucas and Patrick Dempsey in Andy Tennant's film Sweet Home Alabama, where she played Melanie Carmichael, a young fashion designer who intends to marry a New York politician but must return to Alabama to divorce her childhood sweetheart, from whom she has been separated for seven years.However, LA Weekly wrote "[Witherspoon] ends up conveying so little of what’s at once appalling and perversely attractive about the would-be mistress of Vanity Fair" and states that it may have to do with Witherspoon's vanity, "with an Oscar-less young star’s need to be loved more than anyone could conceivably love the “real” Becky Sharp.".
In late 2004, Witherspoon began working alongside Mark Ruffalo on the romantic comedy Just Like Heaven.
Director Alexander Payne said of her, "She's got that quality that men find attractive, while women would like to be her friend. Nobody else is as funny or brings such charm to things.