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Hollywood sometimes asks a lot of the movie going public by showing
something as obvious and silly as this film.
I mean, this New York based, Alabama born designer, is a product of someone's imagination not dealing with reality. Would you buy anything this tacky? I don't think so. Donna Karan or Ralph Lauren she is not. Would anyone in her right mind buy any of those 'creations'? I wouldn't be caught dead in one of them!
What about her past? How conveniently to forget in New York the reasons she left the small town in the first place. Didn't she think the past was going to catch up with her? How about marrying the son of the bitchy Candice Bergen? I would like to know how she was going to get away from coming up clean.
Well, if after all the mind stretching on one's part, one has a laugh or two, then it was well worth seeing this piece of fluff.
The best thing going in the film is the presence of Reese Witherspoon. She's a born charmer and the only reason for seeing this predictable movie. The other good reason is Josh Lucas who makes a very manly Jake. He plays very well against Ms Witherspoon.
I am a fan of Reese Witherspoon's and have been anxiously awaiting this film
for quite a long time. She is good in just about any role that she takes
on, and was excellently cast as Elle Woods in Legally Blonde, so I figured
that this movie would be just as good or even better because of her immense
talent. I should have just watched the trailer and had nothing to do with
the movie. This movie was an amazing disappointment, and I cannot fathom
why so many people went to see it and enjoy it. The movie is billed as a
romantic comedy, but the writers seemed to forget to include the comedy.
Sure, there were a few very funny parts, but the rest of the time I kept
waiting for something hilarious to happen. Reese's character isn't
completely lovable, which is more realistic in my opinion, but you don't
exactly cheer for her at the end of the movie. Both of the male leads are
satisfactory, but nothing really special. Everyone else in this movie was
completely wasted. Fred Ward has done funny work in the past, but in this
part he is given very few lines and little screen time. The ending is
completely unrealistic and the movie should have gone more into Melanie and
Jake's relationship so the ending could be a little bit more believable.
This could have been a fantastic film if it had been written in the right
way. Reese Witherspoon is on her way to becoming a huge star, but I hope
that she chooses much better projects in the future. If you want to see a
fabulous romantic comedy that will leave you in stitches, go see My Big Fat
Overall rating: 4/10
By the way... did anyone notice the Legally Blonde inside joke at the end where during the credits, you are given a glimpse at Andrew's wedding announcement? He ended up marrying a Vanderbilt, the kind of woman that Elle Woods aspired to be like in Legally Blonde.
Had this movie been made forty years ago, it would've starred Paul Newman
and Joanne Woodward; it's that kind of story-- a romantic and lusty foray
into the human condition that takes truth, honesty and love into
consideration while examining the relationships of those involved. As for
the Newman/Woodward fantasy, as an audience we could only be so lucky.
Because `Sweet Home Alabama,' directed by Andy Tennant, coasts with a `Fast
Food Generation' sense of romance, and from frame One any `lusty' aspects of
the film would be more aptly defined as `dusty,' `musty' or `rusty.' If
this is a reflection of the sense and sensibility of romance in the new
millennium, then just stop the world now and let me off.
Melanie Carmichael (Reese Witherspoon), seven years removed from her roots in Alabama has achieved success in the Big Apple. She is `The' new designer of the fashion world, and the man of her dreams, Andrew Hennings (Patrick Dempsey) has just proposed. Life is good; but there are a couple of things standing between her and the American dream. One is Katherine Hennings (Candice Bergen), Andrew's mother. But the biggest obstacle is back home in Alabama, and before she can realize her dream she's going to have to resolve a few things from her past. Which means a trip back home to the place-- and the life-- she's worked so hard to get away from. But there's no getting around it; to move ahead with her new life she's going to have to open some closet doors and rattle some skeletons. So for Melanie, it's off to her old sweet home, Alabama, to visit the past she'd rather forget.
As a director, Andy Tennant has his roots in television, and for better or worse-- it is, perhaps, a subjective call-- he has time and again attempted to adapt his small screen sensibilities to the big screen, which worked well enough in `Ever After,' in 1998, but achieved dismal results the next year in `Anna and the King.' This offering falls somewhere in-between. To be fair, though, the problems began before Tennant ever came on board, and it falls directly on writers Douglas J. Eboch (story) and C. Jay Cox (screenplay), who cranked out a story/screenplay that is decidedly uninspired and lacks any semblance of originality whatsoever. As a rule, I personally rail against those who deem the outcome of just about any film `predictable,' because it's usually in reference to plot developments that are, more accurately, `inevitable.' This one, however, is going to make everyone in the audience thinking they have The Sight.
To put what Tennant has done here into perspective, one must place him on the scale by which directors of romantic comedy are judged. On the strength of her `Return To Me,' Bonnie Hunt shares the apex of the chart with the undisputed master of the RC, Nora Ephron, both of whom register at the 100th percentile. At the nadir of the chart is Adam Shankman (`The Wedding Planner'), with a `0' percentile. This film puts Tennant at about 20. Granted, he was handed a poor script (how did this get the green light in the first place? It's been DONE already!), but he exhibits a veritable lack of vision with a truly unimaginative rendering of the material. The story is trite and the characters are inherently uninteresting, but he could have at least livened things up a bit. He even blew the outdoor dance scene, which was custom made for some good old down home Alabama rockabilly and line dancing; instead, what you get is a glimpse and a cut-away to a shot of the good ol' boys sitting atop a water tower drinking beer. Make that the 19th percentile.
In `Election' and especially in `Legally Blonde,' Reese Witherspoon is a charismatic, forceful presence on the screen. As Melanie, however, she comes across as too self-absorbed to be likable, and there's a scene in which she's had a bit too much to drink that, as they say, shows her (Melanie's) true colors. She has too much of an edge to evoke any empathy, and overall, her performance isn't that convincing. She gets the `hard' side of Melanie right, but when she goes for `soft' it translates to pretentious and lacks the realism that would make it believable. In retrospect, Melanie is rather unattractive and unappealing, which makes this film a hard sell.
Josh Lucas, meanwhile, though a step up from McConaughey's Steve/Eddie of `The Wedding Planner,' still comes across as a kind of third-rate Paul Newman wannabe. Comparing Newman's Ben Quick to Lucas' Jake Perry, for example, isn't comparing apples and oranges, it's more like sizzle to fizzle. Lucas is a good actor (his Martin Hansen in `A Beautiful Mind'), but he lacks the magnetism to make Jake viable.
As Andrew, Patrick Dempsey gives something of an assembly line performance. In his defense, he was given little with which to work, but he failed to explore it for the nuance that would have at least given some `identity' to his character. Dempsey has the looks and talent, and perhaps a stronger director could've exacted more from him.
And what in the world is going on with Candice Bergen? Is she destined to play a sarcastic and jaded (Katherine in this one) or disturbed (Kathy Morningside, `Miss Congeniality') version of Murphy Brown for the rest of her career? Bergen is a beautiful, gifted actor who has much more to offer than what she's been given in recent years.
The supporting cast includes Fred Ward (Earl), Mary Kay Place (Pearl), Jean Smart (Stella), Ethan Embry (Bobby Ray) and Melanie Lynskey (Lurlynn). With a different cast, director and screenplay, `Sweet Home Alabama' may have had a chance; but this bunch checked any pizzazz and credibility at the door on the way in, and the result is a film that is flat and tedious. This one seemingly had promise, but the filmmakers simply failed to deliver. 3/10.
Do you remember a game show called "Name That Tune"? Contestants were able to name the name of a song on as little as two notes. This reminds me of "Sweet Home Alabama" When the film came out, I read the title, the star and about ten words and I knew the entire movie. I've never seen this movie, I can't take that degree of punishment. But I have seen bits and pieces and I've read the "plot" and I know I'm right. Reese Witherspoon (Meredith) plays a top New York fashion designer. Wait stop right there. Isn't it trite that characters in these types of movies always have a ridiculous glamour job like that? Producers think its interesting, but really it is something we can't relate to. Meredith got married after high school in Alabama and now she has to go back to a small town in Alabama to get her estranged husband to sign the divorce papers. She can't get divorced without his signature. OK, this is not only a tired plot, (actually an exhausted one) it was re-written by a moron. You don't have to chase down your estranged husband personally to get a divorce. There's these people that do that sort of thing, they're called lawyers and process servers. Your husband does not have to sign, only the judge. Not only that you can file for divorce where you live, as in New York. You can take my word for it, as I've passed the bar in three states, one of which borders on Alabama. I guess if you're a top New York Fashion designer, you never get the chance to meet lawyers. Only about every day. Problem is you don't have to be a lawyer to know that you can get a divorce where you live, regular people came into my office all the time asking for a divorce when the spouse lives in Europe, Asia, even Alabama. So, you won't believe this, but when she goes back to Alabama she realizes that she really loves the stud ex-husband, not the stud rich guy from New York. She left him standing at the alter. What an original thought. Who saw that coming. We've only seen that 10,000 times since Dustin Hoffman did that in the Graduate in 1967. Because Hollywood knows that you think living in a small backwoods town in Alabama is so much better than being rich and successful in New York. I've been to Alabama and I've been to New York. If you have money, New York is way better. A spoiler alert is superfluous for this film. The ending was given away the day it opened.
Melanie (Reese Witherspoon) is a new fashion designer slash southern
belle trying to make it in New York. Things are going well when Andrew
Hennings (Patrick Dempsey) proposes to her. He's the son of the Mayor
and is quite a charming successful guy. Only she has a secret. She is
still married to her childhood love (Josh Lucas) back home in Alabama.
This movie faces two challenges from the standard rom-com point of view. The mayor's son is actually very charming, very nice, and a great guy overall. There's no way to make him a bad guy. So Josh Lucas has to really sell it in this movie. Except he has a handicap from the second challenge. She's begging for a divorce, and he's a big fat jerk who keeps refusing her. They fight and he doesn't give her a divorce. He angers her and he doesn't give her a divorce. It brings to mind the lyrics "If You Love Somebody Set Them Free".
There really isn't a mean spirit in this movie. The characters are all generally nice people. There is a good notion of big city versus small town values. But none of it is too compelling. It's an unassuming rom-com.
This is a fun movie. You'll enjoy watching it if you are into romantic comedies. They tried to show a typical southern life style ( which was pretty much a stereotype, but they did it in a way so it wouldn't offend anyone from the south). Another fun fact for you - Our ranch ( Secret Passage ranch) provided horses for this movie. We helped with that big reenacting scene. Most of the actors had never been on a horse, so we had to teach them in a very short term how to handle one. Working with Reese was a pleasure, she is such a sweetheart. We taught her how to ride a horse, she rode our famous Midnight! If you are in a mood to watch a kind, funny and sweet movie, that would be your choice!
Have you seen the creatures that consume us? The monsters that devour us both in life and death? I mean obviously this movie is feces, the wretched stink of human waste fills the room. Mrs Witherspoon gives an unlovable performance, she passes before our eyes as a horrific mockery of human life. She seems devoid of genuine compassion and when you add that to a movie that so hates life and love and light you get a miserable viewing experience. Sweet Home Alabama assumes that you the viewer are undeserving of knowing truth or beauty, it gives you fake characters with fake emotions and motivations that result in meaningless unexamined futility. There is nothing funny in this movie neither intended or accidentally, it just sucks from beginning to end. If you have access to a time machine, go back and stop this movie from being made, PLEASE!
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This movie is extremely predictable. The protagonist, played by the
charming Reese Witherspoon, is nonetheless selfish, thoughtless and
bitchy. She is rude and hateful to all her friends, her parents and her
boyfriends' mum, not to mention breaking the hearts of two perfectly
nice men. I was crossing my fingers that she'd find herself without
either of them, and realise she had to be a bit nicer in future.
It seemed to me as though Melanie having a gay friend and being an animal lover was supposed to make up for her otherwise crap personality. Unsucessfully, needless to say.
The dialogue is clichéd and tedious; all the good lines are in the trailer.
There's also a huge amount of stereotyping about new yorkers and the south (*SARCASM ALERT* a male new york designer is gay? :o Wow, never expected that!)
I think the only good thing to say about it, is that the acting is pretty good from everybody. Dempsey is a little wooden, as usual, but it's even a fairly good performance from him. As always, Witherspoon is delightful. Lucas was vaguely charming and handsome, which was all the part demanded. I actually rather liked Candice Bergen's character (we're supposed to hate her because she hates Melanie, but as I hated Melanie too I kinda cheered her on) and Bergen was great as another powerful woman.
Ultimately this movie has nothing to offer in terms of morals, humour or romance. I was not moved a single time. Don't be taken in by the fun and sweet trailer. It's a really bad movie.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Really disliked this movie. Badly done and dull. The characters shallow and unlikeable. The 3 minute trailer to this movie was the only good thing about it - two young kids , best friends who have their sweet first kiss when lightning strikes. That and Reese Witherspoon and the Alabama setting was what enticed me in. But the body of the film bears no resemblance to this preface. I think the plot: 'girl from wrong side of tracks - escapes small town & hick-husband, becomes fashion designer & falls for high flying son of socialite snob politician who in turn starts sniffing into girl's background', provided a skeleton of dramatic scope and might actually have worked with better development and scripting. But we have no idea for way too long as to why the main protagonist played by the normally great Reese Witherspoon, fell out with her husband from Alabama and left him. They do not 'fit'. They are not funny together. In fact the whole second act fails on every level. Reeses character is ill developed, and the actress herself seems to realise she is in a bummer of a movie and can't get out. She makes an unlikely fashion designer. She does not relate to her colleagues, (employees?), she is dull, a cipher, and when back in Alabama becomes downright unpleasant. Even the great Lynard Skynrds song was not reprised well in the ho down sequence. Why oh why did Reese do this movie?
It was alright. It was basically a typical romantic comedy with very
little comedy. The story was OK but very predictable. Both me and my
girlfriend guessed what was going to happen before it happened.
Don't get me wrong, I did enjoy it. It was good to watch once. But it is not something I would buy on DVD.
I think the comedy part needed a major tweaking as I think I laughed out loud once and cracked a grin twice. The story has been seen a million times before in almost every other romcom made. It's about a girl who is engaged to be married but needs to go back home to Alabama to get a divorce from her ex first... the problem is, he does not want to get divorced and her fiancée doesn't know she was married in the first place...
Reese Witherspoon was OK in it, but it was not her best performance... She did a much better job in Walk the Line. I do love her accent in the movie though... it is a great American Alabama accent. :)
I was a little bit disappointed that the song, Sweet Home Alabama, was played twice in the movie (once in a bar sung by a live band, then during the credits). I love this song but I was hoping they would have had Lynyrd Skynyrd singing it somewhere, or at least have it playing somewhere. But unfortunately the bar band were average at singing it, and the credits version was sung by a female lead... the song was murdered. I turned it off mid credits because I couldn't listen to it anymore.
I know I am saying a lot of negative things about this film, but that I really not how it is... It was entertaining.
I was pleasantly surprised to see a young Dakota Fanning it for a brief moment... she only was in it very briefly though.
My rating for this would be 5 out of 10. Average at best.
I enjoyed it while I was watching it and there are some funny bits, I just wish there was more.
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