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Sweet Home Alabama (2002)

  Directed by: Andy Tennant
Starring: Candice Bergen, Patrick Dempsey, Josh Lucas, Reese Witherspoon
Links: Sweet Home Alabama on the IMDb, Official site, Buy on Video, Buy on DVD, Buy the Soundtrack
Genre: Comedy

This movie gets: 4.50 (2 ratings) Ranking: Ranked equal 158th of 187 movies (2 ratings minimum; see full chart)

"Hey! I remember that guy!" - a review by pearly

You've gotta love a good romantic comedy. Or, on the other hand, perhaps you don't. That's the question you should be asking yourself before you choose to see Sweet Home Alabama though: do I like romantic comedies? And the reason you should ask yourself this is that, as far as romantic comedies go, this is about as romantic comedyish as they come. It's got everything. The girl who's fallen for the successful and rich guy, the childhood sweetheart who was involved in a weird lightning incident with the girl, the overbearing mother-in-law-to-be, the parents who just want what's best for their little girl, and so on.

To steal a quote from that song that Dan and Patrick wrote on Big Brother 3, this movie is "a little piece of cookie cutter sky". Well, except for the sky bit. The only thing that brings this particular romantic comedy out into the spotlight, as opposed to any of the others, is that it has Reese Witherspoon in it (similarly to Serendipity, but with different actors).

One of the most memorable things about this movie, in my opinion, was not even a part of the movie itself. I watched the DVD version, and afterwards, I checked out the extras, which included the original ending (that was changed after test screenings). In it, Jake (Josh Lucas) and Melanie are hit by lightning (again) whilst having a smooch, and then Jake carries Melanie's lifeless body into the reception area, pronouncing "Melanie Carmichael is dead!". Oh, how I laughed. But then, yadda yadda yadda, she's not actually dead. Still, it made me wish that I could be in one of them test audience thingys, because it would have been awesome to be able to say that I was the one who convinced them to keep that bit in there. Oh well.

So, on the whole, it does its job as a romantic comedy, and you get to see what has become of Patrick Dempsey, who I don't think I've seen since Can't Buy Me Love (1987). That's about it, really.

pearly gives this movie 5 out of 10.
Review created on Tue 12 Aug 2003

"Hick Chick Flick: Ick." - a review by mino

Like a lot of people, I'm a sucker for Reese Witherspoon. Um, no, wait, hang on: I meant, I'm a sucker for Reese Witherspoon's movies. Yeah, that's it. He-heh. Anyway, Reese's forté is the rather pointless ‘pap’ film — a genre of which I'm a big fan. Reese often manages, in fact, to drag these movies up a notch or two on the strength of her performance alone.

Witness, for example, Pleasantville (1998), or the enormously successful Legally Blonde (2001), both of which were hoisted up from somewhere in the lower reaches of ‘barely watchable’ to somewhere in the upper end of ‘quite pleasant’ purely on the strength of Witherspoon's performances. Fortunately for her, though, she can make very smart movies as well: Election (1999), for example, is probably Reese's best performance to date. One of the more intelligent ‘teen flicks’ ever made, Election is probably the movie which really cemented Witherspoon's place as a hot young actress.

It's a pity, then, that Sweet Home Alabama is no Election. Alas, it's not even a Legally Blonde. While the latter film is probably the closest to Sweet Home in the Witherspoon canon, being fundamentally a romantic ditzy comedy (albeit less romantic and more comedy), it's a mile apart from it in terms of watchability. Frankly, Sweet Home is fairly awful, and could stand as convincing courtroom proof, were it ever needed, that a good actor does not make for a good movie.

Sweet Home Alabama is nothing more than formulaic pap, and is in fact so formulaic and pappy that Sir Laurence Olivier and Spencer Tracy couldn't even make it into an amusing diversion, let alone a good movie. It's clearly been churned out by some boffin working a special romantic-comedy version of Roald Dahl's ‘Great Automatic Grammatizator’: and I'm not all that sure that he knew which button did what.

Witherspoon is Melanie, a hotshot New York fashion designer who is ashamed of her Alabamian heritage. She is engaged to a young go-getter named Andrew (Patrick Dempsey), who also happens to be the son of the mayor (Candice Bergen). However, before she can get married, she needs to sort out some issues with her previous flame, Jake. Jake is, it would seem to the casual observer, played by Matthew McConaughey. Though I developed supsicions maybe an hour into the movie, it was not in fact until the end credits that I could be certain that it was not Mr McConaughey, but rather some bloke named Josh Lucas who was obviously pulled from some sort of The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001)-style Matthew McConaughey Clone Breeding Pod. Anyhow, needless to say, there is some confusion about who Melanie actually loves, who she should end up with, and so on. It's nothing you haven't seen before, unless you're physically blind (in which case I hope I haven't offended you). Really, the biggest complaint about Sweet Home is how predictable it is. By ten minutes in, you should know how the movie will go from here on in, unless you're very stupid indeed (in which case I hope I haven't offended you).

Alas, I can't really complain much more about the film without giving away some fairly ‘significant’ details of the ‘plot’, so I will have to be careful in my further savaging. Suffice it to say, the ending is truly godawful: I can only assume that my view of what makes a good husband is very different indeed to that of the rest of the Western world.

That's enough. I don't want to think about this stupid movie any more.

mino gives this movie 4 out of 10.
Review created on Tue 18 Feb 2003

Movie review statistics

Number of reviews: 2
Average rating: 4.50
Lowest rating: 4 (by mino)
Highest rating: 5 (by pearly)
Rating Percentage

Reader comments

  1. I absolutely LOVE this move!!!

    Rating given: 10

    A comment from jenny on Fri 08 Oct 2004 10:54 #

Those who have commented give this movie: 10.00 (1 rating)

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