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*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Just for the record, I generally obtain some level of enjoyment from
almost every movie that I watch, including plenty that the critics
This movie, however, is different. It's a waste of precious time that could be better spent picking fluff from your navel, cutting toenails, or doing something that's less unpleasant than watching this.
I humbly suggest that the balance of positive reviews on IMDb and elsewhere is NOT an indication that this is an OK movie - it's more likely an indication of failings in our education systems and culture that leave many people unaware of depth in any story, even one of lightweight and innocent amusement. Yes, I'm annoyed, and it shows.
The script deserves a special category at the Oscars ("and the award for most nauseatingly predictable screenplay goes to...") and the glib lack of any depth and credibility in the characters is an insult to any audience. I'd also concur with the many other reviewers who found some of the stereotypes bordering on offensive.
If you feel happy and mushy inside after watching this movie, there's no need to panic - but I'd pleadingly ask that you maybe try watching almost any other Reese Witherspoon movie or, better still, go read a good book or two.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This film had good intentions I guess, but it didn't really come off
that way to me. This film is about a woman who is about to marry a nice
guy politician from New York but has to go home and divorce her
ex-husband who refuses to sign the papers. The films general message is
that success and being rich in life aren't important, having babies,
cooking, getting drunk and pottering about doing not much is what
life's about. I'm not so arrogant as to say it's a wrong message, I am
a lazy person, it agrees with me! But the problem starts with the fact
you are supposed to love this up herself girl who comes back and
insults her former friends and you just don't find that happening. This
film tries to twist and surprise you which it doesn't do and you find
her transition, jumpy and forced, instead of a steadily realisation she
just seems to wake up or click instantly into this next stage of
realisation (after punching a woman in the face.. hmmm.. our heroine
suddenly develops a very strong south American accent and this quick
transition comes across as purely ridiculous.
You find yourself majorly worried by the immoral (inevitable) walking out on a really nice guy at the altar, who is just supposed to accept that because of Witherspoon's nice smile (which he does "oh my heart's broken I think I am OK with you leaving bye"). Classic old school romantic comedies at least had the decency to make the other man a git, or at least plotting or not wanting to marry her themselves. I would comment on the blatant racist north America south America overtones but I don't really know enough about this to comment. Not bad acting performances from all the cast despite the script and plot.
Life is short but not so short you should avoid watching this film, after all it's a feel good film.
"Sweet Home Alabama" is about a young woman, Melanie Carmichael (Reese
Witherspoon), who is learning who she is. She must choice between her
new life in New York City and the one she left behind in Pigeon Creek,
Alabama. The theme of the film is that you can't be two different
people; you have to be who you are. You have to face your life and your
past and not pretend that you are someone you're not.
The city versus country motif is brought to life throughout the entire film in such actions as a civil war re-enactment, shooting anvils across the plantation yard, and a diverse, yet, predictable group of characters residing in Melanie's hometown. This is far from her world in New York City where she is a fashion designer, engaged to the mayor's son, Andrew Hennings (Patrick Dempsey), and lives life in the fast lane.
The city versus country conflict begins when Melanie returns home to finalize her divorce from her lovable, redneck husband Jake Perry (Josh Lucas). The laughs continue when, much to Mayor Kate Hennings (Candice Bergen) dismay, Melanie and Andrew decide to have their wedding in Alabama. Mayor Hennings is a stiff, conservative ice queen. This makes the first meeting of the happy couples' parents, Mayor Hennings and Pearl and Earl Smooter (Mary Kay Place and Fred Ward), incredibly predictable, yet, still hilarious when you see it play out.
As she was in "Legally Blonde" and "Just Like Heaven", Witherspoon is sweet, smart, and sassy. She pulls you into the film, and you want to see her happy. She has great chemistry with both Jake and Andrew, which makes it difficult for viewers to decide which she should be with. Melanie, herself, can't decide who is for her until she decides who she is.
Director Andy Tennant masterfully uses music to contribute to the theme. With the use of songs such as "Sweet Home Alabama," "What This World Needs Is a Few More Rednecks," and "Marry Me," he transports you into the south. This music prompts you to root for the south and the southern girl who has just returned home. Tennant, also, impressively did not over use the song "Sweet Home Alabama." He used the song only in the situations were it would make the largest impact.
Tennant shows in "Sweet Home Alabama", as he did in "Ever After", that love just happens and we can't control love any more than we can control who we really are. In "Sweet Home Alabama", all of Melanie's problems seem to stem from the fact that she cannot face who she really is. Her father sum's up the theme of the movie in one statement, "You can't ride two horses with one ass, sugar bean."
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Sometimes the saying `home is where the heart is' has double meaning.
rising New York designer Melanie Carmichael (Reese Witherspoon), home is
farthest thing from her mind. And as for her heart, it has recently been
stolen. Engaged to one of New York's wealthiest men, not to mention the
mayor's (Candice Bergen) son, Melanie returns to home, sweet home Alabama
tie up her past.
Melanie who has done everything in her power to escape her past has to return if she wants to move forward. In order for her to continue with her upcoming wedding to Andrew Hennings (Patrick Dempsey), she must divorce her first husband (Josh Lucas). Her first priority is Jake (Josh Lucas), jail, and home. Her parents (Fred Ward and Mary Kay Place) are typical southern, blue-collar, middle class, average Joe's. Melanie was raised with mentality of making something of herself and get out of this one horse town. However, her parents will travel all over to see the great battlefields and refuse to visit their only daughter in New York. While Jake refuses to sign the divorce papers, Melanie meddles with Jake's life. She makes a fool of herself at the local bar ran by her mother-in-law (Jean Smart). Thinking she is better than everyone else in that town, she adds to the fire when she unveils the secretive sexuality of a friend (Ethan Embry), demeans another, and states: `How can ya'll live like this? It is like you need a pass-port to come down here.' All the time Melanie is demeaning everyone, especially Jake, he is being decent towards her. Her heartstrings are beginning to be pulled in two different ways. Jake finally realizes that he can't compete with Andrew, and he succumbs to the divorce papers. Now there is a wedding to plan! With the mayor of New York as her future mother-in-law, Melanie had not much worrying to do, except worrying about her true feelings and which man she was head-over heels with in love. I'm not going to ruin the ending because it is just too good. Sorry, take 109 minutes out and give "Sweet Home Alabama" a go. You'll have a sweet ole' time watching it; I know I had a sweet time falling in love with this romantic comedy! I give it a solid four-star rating.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
First let me say that I WANT to like this movie. I adore Reese Witherspoon, and I think she does a terrific job in this movie, and for that I want to like it. But OMG the storyline! It's infuriating! Truly, truly infuriating. I agree with another reviewer who wrote that this could only have been written by a man (and it was). Essentially, there's a girl who lives in a tiny town which would be best described as Dirthole, Alabama. She longs for a different life, so she leaves her husband (whom she married just out of high school because she was pregnant (lost the child, so no baby character to worry about)), she trots off to NY, makes a big name for herself as a fashion designer, and gets engaged to the mayor's son, who is not only sexy and hot but also exceedingly kind, generous, and nice. She has to journey back to AL to force her no good husband to sign the divorce papers she's been sending him for the past 7 years and which he has repeatedly refused to sign. While there, wouldn't you know it, she gets sucked back into the 'charm' of the crap hole that she left and the siren call of her ex's blue eyes. This movie totally ignores the fact that maybe this girl really does need something bigger and better than the miserable little town she came from, and it also totally ignores the fact that she managed to make something incredible of her dream. For that alone the authors should be punished. Furthermore, they imply that she's going to throw it all down the drain to return to Hillbilly land in order to reunite with her ex and his hound dog. WHY, is what I want to know. By writing this storyline, the authors suggest that Melanie's dream wasn't really a big deal, and they expect us to just accept their claim that her ex Mr. Blue-eyes is really the love of her life. Well, I never saw it, I don't accept it, and it just infuriates me that Melanie's character so lightly and easily tosses away everything she worked her butt off for over seven years. And don't get me started on the abominable way she treats her fiancé, who is probably the most decent character in the movie. Gaaahhhh! This Melanie character makes women look either idiotic or like big fat liars.
This is easily the worst film based on a Lynyrd Skynyrd song.
Unfortunately, it's also the best. That should change once my script
for " 'That Smell': A Scratch-and-Sniff Musical" hits the big screen.
In the meantime, we must settle for "Sweet Home Alabama," with Reese Witherspoon as Melanie, a successful New York fashion designer engaged to marry Andrew (Patrick Dempsey), an eligible bachelor who is also the son of a rising politician (Candice Bergen). Before Melanie and Andrew can wed, she must serve divorce papers on her husband (Josh Lucas) back in Alabama. I guess she's never heard of registered mail.
Witherspoon does an adequate job following the well-worn path previously taken by romantic comedy queens Julia Roberts and Sandra Bullock, but the phony Southern accent wears thin after about 10 minutes. In fact, the film is so full of stereotypes the trashy locals, the indignant politician, the gay sidekick you keep waiting for the in-breeding joke. That never arrives, thankfully, but then again, it might have provided a needed laugh as relief from the sentimental schmaltz.
Will Melanie continue on her upwardly mobile path and marry the dim-witted but rich mama's boy, or will she return to her roots and her dim-witted but sincere husband? If you have to ask, then this is the film for you.
Yes, the South is different. But isn't it sad that the song "Sweet Home
Alabama," which was written in the first place to object to sweeping
generalizations about demon-Southerners (all Southerners being white,
of course, in this anti-Southern view) is now gracing a movie that
cozies right up to Southern stereotypes? (And for those objecting to
the sentiments of the song, perhaps you should learn a little bit more
about Lynyrd Skynard and Neil Young, and what that song actually said
about their attitudes--and how Young responded. What Skynard meant by
the song and how SOME of their audience have interpreted it over the
years are two different things, just like Springsteen's "Born in the
USA" has been used for political purposes that are the opposite of the
For people who think every white Southerner's favorite evening wear is a white sheet with burning cross as accessory, they can gloat over the stupid hicks in this film. For people who want to fantasize that we can still live in Mayberry, they can groove on how pretty it all is. (Mostly.) People see what they expect to see. (Except black folks, who'd better not expect to see black folks living in the Alabama of THIS movie.) Reese Witherspoon herself, a well-bred Episcopalian débutante from Nashville, is a negation of Southern stereotypes, and an example of the Southerners we never see as characters in movies.
Meanwhile the movie itself is so innocuous that it dissolves while you're watching it. I've been sitting through the unending USA Network commercials for their showing of the flick, and getting the impression that the only reason they're showing it is to piggyback on the popularity of Dr. McDreamy.
I suppose there are worse ways to spend an evening. But don't imagine that you're seeing anything to do with the actual South. Or actual human beings.
When I saw this movie I could not believe how bad it was!
The director must have been asleep during the shoots. All of the shots are poorly framed, dull and uninteresting, much like a lousy home movie. The performances are uninvolving.
True, I had just come from watching "Blood Simple" (an all-time classic) but, trust me, this is one awful film. It's not even worth writing more commentary.
This was a real waste of an evening. The storyline was weak, and it was difficult to empathise with Reese Witherspoon's character - not all her fault as the script did her no favours, giving her such a two-dimensional role to play. Patrick Dempsey's character similarly did him no favours - he surely must look back on this dreadful movie as a low point in his career. This role gave him little scope for his talent to shine. The stereotyping of the 'Democrat mom-in-law' was appalling and conveyed a distasteful political bias. Furthermore, Sweet Home Alabama gave out a rather simplistic, clumsy 'North is bad, South is good' message, which is rather bizarre for this genre of movie, not to mention inappropriate and alienating. This is a very poor movie.
I couldn't believe I sat through the entire movie only to see her end up
with her loser ex-husband. The ending was so unrealistic I feel I wasted
two hours of my life watching that trash. I walked out after that, but I
hear there were several more minutes of worthless filler
7 years of trying to get a divorce, 8 months of being with "Prince Charming", and she gives it up after being in Hickville for a week?? Give me a break, not to mention giving up her New York lifestyle and future career.
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