Sweet Home Alabama

Sweet Home Alabama


Reviewed by: Angus Wolfe Murray

What do you call a romantic comedy, when the love is phoney and the jokes die? Hollywood has a vast pool of second rate directors and hack writers, who spend their time networking, until a producer falls for the pitch and a soggy, sugar-coated something appears on the screen, with a bright young actress and a hunky guy who smiles too much, and the people in Marketing are given oodles of green paper to make this the most-talked-about-something since the last time around and suddenly you care because there isn't a Julia & Rupert movie coming out and the other stuff at the multiplex looks so HEAVY.

Get a grip. Mediocrity is a nerve gas. It debilitates without leaving a trace. One moment, you are saying, "I love Reese Witherspoon," and the next, "Let's get tickets for Sweet Home Alabama." A logical process, you might think. She of Legally Blonde and Election is, indeed, irresistable. However, the Alabama thing stinks.

Copy picture

Melanie Carmichael (The Lovable Miss W) is the uppiest, most coming fashion designer in Noo York. She's the toast of whatever-dahling. AND she's engaged to the mayor's son (Patrick Dempsey). There is a prob. She has to rush home to guess-where to get a divorce from the local ne'er-do-nothing (Josh Lucas) and give her folks a fright.

Melanie is almost poor white trash. Daddy (Fred Ward) may be poor and they're all white, but trashy? Hell, no! They may live in a little house in a raggedy small town and speak twangy, but they're solid stock from somewhere solid and still salute the Confederate flag. Mom (Mary Kay Place) makes the best jam in the county. Mel says it's the best in the state!

When she comes back, she's all homey and stops speaking Manhattan. Her husband's a nice guy. He's pleased to see her. He doesn't hold a grudge about her running off seven years ago and is so much more relaxed than that pompous twit of a fiance.

The jokes are snobbish. It's all about money and class. The mayor (Candice Bergen) makes no pretence at being shocked by Mel's blue collar roots and, of course, looks foolish because of it.

The film is so false, it's all cardboard and frills. The script leaks butterscotch; the characters are good ole; the humour has nowhere to put itself. Cliches outnumber country singers on the soundtrack and feelgood flannelette snugwear is worn by the entire cast. Except the incomers. They wears suits.

Witherspoon has been groomed to look sophisticated and grown up. You would never believe that this is the same girl who taught the teenagers of Pleasantville how to have a good time in the back seat of a Chevvy.

Reviewed on: 18 Dec 2002
Share this with others on...
Sweet Home Alabama packshot
Reese Witherspoon is a New York fashion designer, with a downhome Southern past.
Amazon link

Director: Andy Tennant

Writer: C Jay Cox

Starring: Reese Witherspoon, Josh Lucas, Patrick Dempsey, Candice Bergen, Mary Kay Place, Fred Ward

Year: 2002

Runtime: 108 minutes

BBFC: 12A - Adult Supervision

Country: US


Search database: