out of 4
All-Reviews.com Movie/Video Review
Sweet Home Alabama
Review by Susan Granger
3 stars out of 4
If one defines a movie star as an actor/actress whose presence can
carry, even elevate, a mediocre movie, Reese Witherspoon is definitely a movie
star. In this romantic comedy fantasy, she plays Melanie Carmichael, an aspiring
New York fashion designer who's ardently pursued by Andrew (Patrick Dempsey),
the handsome, wealthy son of the Mayor (Candice Bergen). But when she accepts
his Tiffany-tinged, ultra-romantic proposal, she doesn't tell him that there's a
slight complication: she's still legally married to Jake (Josh Lucas), a
laid-back loser who for seven years has refused to sign divorce papers.
Determined to rectify this oversight, she returns Pigeon Creek, Alabama, where
she discovers she still hankers for small-town beer-swilling Jake and his baying
bloodhound, particularly since he's become a success in the glass-blowing
Problem is: writer C. Jay Cox and director Andy Tennant ("Ever
After") not only opt for a predictable plot and cliché stereotypes (Southern
yokels, Manhattan snobs, gay fashionistas, country-bumpkin parents, deep-fried
rednecks, arrogant Mayor) but they also have made Melanie into a thoughtless,
cruel, selfish bitch who ruthlessly manipulates her well-meaning parents, kind
friends and Andrew who, after one soul-searching lapse, is basically a good guy.
Only Reese's impeccable comic timing and abundant charm keeps the
getting-your-values-back concept afloat. It's also a curious twist that in
"Legally Blonde," Reese's character went from dumb bunny to smart cookie and,
here, the reverse is true. Candice Bergen is funny, yet she did the same edgy
character in "Miss Congeniality." So on the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10,
"Sweet Home Alabama" is a frothy, amiable 7 - thanks to the irresistible
charisma of Reese Witherspoon.
Copyright © 2002 Susan Granger
Buy movie posters!