182: Sweet Home Alabama
Sweet Home Alabama (PG-13) - 2002 - Runtime: 108 minutes
Starring: Reese Witherspoon, Josh Lucas, Patrick Dempsey
Director: Andy Tennant
There are about a dozen or so movies in my collection at home that I haven't watched. Mostly they're from Maggie, and Sweet Home Alabama is one of them. This was a movie I always wanted to watch but never got around to it. I thought I was pretty brave watching another romantic comedy in the same day. So when Maggie asked if I wanted to see it, I hesitated a bit, but finally decided to tackle this movie. I was at least hoping I could get The Ugly Truth's bad taste out of my mouth.
Reese Witherspoon (it's just such a good name to say and write) is Melanie, a fashion designer who has it all: the sexiest man alive (played by a very sexy Patrick Dempsey who doesn't have to stretch too much for this role - I mean that in a good way, ladies!) and a clothing line on the verge of success. But she does have skeletons in her closet: namely her first love whom she married right out of high school (played by another sexy playboy, Josh Lucas). A man whom she hasn't seen in seven years and has yet to get a divorce from. You can see the problems she's faced with when McDreamy proposes. So she has to go to Alabama - the sweet, sweet home that it is - to sort out the mess she left. And hijinks ensue.
While the movie has it's moments, it wasn't as special as I thought it might turn out to be. Maybe I just don't enjoy movies where a relationship has already been established. I like to learn how they fell in love, not how they reconnected. But there are some bright moments, mainly coming from Ethan Embry, who I think has gotten the shaft as an actor that came to mild stardom in the 90s (Can't Hardly Wait is probably my favorite teen comedy). There are some funny moments but some of them were either ruined by obnoxious stereotypes or Melanie being such a cantakerous bitch in the scene. Although there was a joke in the movie that had one of Maggie's friends in stitches. Near the end of the movie, we see a plane in the background with "Mo' Fishin" painted on the side. And one of Melanie's New York friends quips "Do we know...Mo?" And literally half a minute passes before Maggie's friend busts out laughing (quite loudly) in the theater. The joke worked for her, it just took some time for it to really sink in.
But the main problem in the movie is the south. Melanie absolutely hates the south from whence she came. And it shows because she talks about it constantly. Most of the people and places she runs into end up being stereotypically redneckish (although save a few, like Ethan Embry's character and Melanie's parents). The movie tries too hard to show the audience "Hey this is the South! Things are a bit different down here! They move a bit slower than your fancy pants New York Citay!" and it becomes too distracting.
About halfway through the movie I noticed I hadn't actually heard the song "Sweet Home Alabama" but thankfully, it's there. Just not by Lynyrd Skynyrd. Maybe they thought they would be misrepresented in the movie? Or the people in charge of securing licensing were too lazy? Either way, I was just a tad bit disappointed the original song wasn't in there. Man, I'm such a jerk, nitpicking on something like this. But I mean, c'mon! Amiright?
Although it's an enjoyable movie, I ultimately didn't get a strong connection with the lead characters enough to really like the movie. If Witherspoon (once again, great name) ever reads this, I hope she has her Oscar handy to wipe away her tears.
Rating: Catch it on TV!