Volume 96, Issue 19
Tuesday October 1, 2002

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MOVIE REVIEW: Sweet Home Alabama
Alabama is anything but sweet

Sweet Home Alabama
Starring: Reese Witherspoon, Patrick Dempsey, Josh Lucas, Candace Bergen
Directed by: Andy Tennant

What is there to say about Sweet Home Alabama? It was predictable, unamusing and a stereotypical romantic comedy.

Reese Witherspoon stars as Melanie Carmichael, an up-and-coming New York City fashion designer who leaves her Southern roots behind for the glamour of the big city. Her love interest and "perfect man," Andrew (Patrick Dempsey), also happens to be the son of New York City's mayor (Candice Bergen).

Following a surprise proposal from Andrew, Melanie is forced to return to her hometown of Pigeon Creek, Alabama to take care of some unfinished business. Specifically, she must deal with the fact that she is still married to her childhood sweetheart, Jake (Josh Lucas), who has been refusing to sign the divorce papers for seven years.

Upon Melanie's return, her husband again refuses to sign the papers, leaving Melanie with no other option than to have a childish fit. Though the audience is supposed to be rooting for Melanie, it is difficult to get behind her because she is simply not a likable person.

Just when Melanie starts to slip back into "Alabama mode," Andrew shows up in Pigeon Creek to find that his fiancée has actually fabricated her entire life story in an effort to impress the New York crowd. The entire cast of characters winds up upset with Melanie, but sure enough, they soon forgive her.

Sweet Home Alabama is touted as a romantic comedy, yet it is hardly romantic and almost never funny. Melanie and Jake spend most of the movie fighting, which makes the audience question why they're supposed to be so perfect together.

The film is also filled with stereotypes and clichés. Most evidently, there is the portrayal of the South: trailer parks, 'coon hound cemeteries and the very name of "Pigeon Creek." There is also a subplot about an old acquaintance of Melanie's who used to be fat, but who is no longer recognizable because of her massive weight loss.

Director Andy Tennant (Ever After) fails to live up to his creative potential with Sweet Home Alabama. Similarly, if you enjoyed Legally Blonde, do not expect this film to be nearly as funny. While both films share the common link of Reese Witherspoon, the pathetic plot of Sweet Home severs any further ties between the two.

All this film offers is a superficial surface: attractive stars, a predictable plot, mediocre film-making and a zany 'coon hound to spice things up. Unfortunately, there is absolutely nothing below this surface.

Don't waste your money on this one: Sweet Home Alabama isn't even worth the matinee fare.

–Megan Pasche


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