some language/sexual references.
as Melanie Carmichael
Mary Kay Place
Sweet Home Alabama is a cute, predictable and yet kind of boring film that seemed to drag on at times. It has some fun moments and Reese Witherspoon is at the top of her game, but the overall feel of the film wasn't sharp and left me wishing for something else.
Melanie (Reese Witherspoon) is an up and coming fashion designer in New York. Her latest line just debuted to rave reviews and her boyfriend Andrew (Patrick Dempsey) has just proposed to her. Everything is perfect... except for one problem. She's still married to her childhood sweetheart Jake (Josh Lucas). They were married right out of high school, but seven years ago she left to make a better life for herself and she's never looked back. Now she's got to go back home to Alabama and get Jake to sign divorce papers so she can marry Andrew. But once she gets back, she starts to think that maybe Jake wasn't so bad and maybe she wants to get back together with him. Who do you choose?
I had high hopes for Sweet Home Alabama. I'm a big fan of Reese Witherspoon and have enjoyed all of her films. She's got a great sweetness quality about her that just makes you like her. I'm waiting for the day she tries to play a really bad character, just to see if she can pull it off. But I digress... The previews for this movie looked like it would be a really cute film with Reese being forced to choose between two guys. But there was a problem. There was no one to cheer for and that made it difficult to enjoy because you really didn't care which guy she ended up with. Both guys were really nice and both cared about her. If she chose Andrew I would have been happy. If she chose Jake, I would have been happy. So the entire movie I found that I didn't care who she chose, just as long as she made up her mind and chose someone. And that's where the crux of the problem is. The only 'bad' character in the entire movie was Andrew's mother, who just happened to be the Mayor of New York City (Candice Bergen). And she wasn't even in the film that much and had no control over what her son did anyway. So how do you fashion a film around a likeable woman who has to choose between two likeable guys?
There was no drama; no real tension. I think going in to the movie everyone pretty much guessed who she was going to end up with so that made it even less dramatic. None of the 'surprise' story lines went anywhere either. She was pregnant at 18. Mentioned twice but nothing comes of it. Her last name really isn't Carmichael; gets a few gags in but other than that, nothing comes of it. Jake has a big secret. Big deal. The entire movie hinged on Reese and her decision, but it was a decision that she took forever to make and no matter what she chose, it would have been OK. I would have liked to have seen more of a typical romantic comedy. At least if the audience felt Andrew was a bad guy there would have been more reason to get emotionally involved in the film, cheering for Jake.
The supporting cast beyond the big three was nice but almost just background players. Ethan Embry stood out to me and Rhona Mitra as one of Reese's best friends from New York, if only because she was the model for Lara Croft in the video games. And can someone explain to me how you have one of the greatest songs in history as your title, yet when you play the song in the film its not the original version? I recall hearing the song twice, the second time by Jewel! Jewel?! I mean, c'mon... could you not shell out a couple of bucks and get the Lynyrd Skynyrd version? Absolutely killed me...
THE BOTTOM LINE
So overall Sweet Home Alabama wasn't a bad film, it just didn't have the heart I was looking for. It was too lighthearted and didn't let the audience become really emotionally involved in the characters to make it a truly enjoyable film.
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