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Sweet Home Alabama
2002 - PG-13 - 109 Mins.
Director: Andy Tennant
Producer: Neal H. Moritz
Written By: Douglas J. Eboch and Jay Cox
Starring: Reese Witherspoon, Josh Lucas, Patrick Dempsey, Fred Ward, Mary Kay Place
Review by: Joe Rickey
A New York City fashion designer (Reese Witherspoon) is surprised when her boyfriend proposes to her in a sudden act of romance. Now she must go back to her hometown in Alabama to get a divorce from her at odds husband. Sweet Home Alabama stars Reese Witherspoon, Candice Bergen, Patrick Dempsey, Josh Lucas, and Ethan Embry. Andy Tennant directs the romantic comedy.

Many have wondered since the surprise success of Legally Blonde whether that one film alone answered the question of whether Reese Witherspoon could carry a film to success all by herself or was that film just an aberration? With Sweet Home Alabama, a truly lightweight comedy, Witherspoon again is blessed with a solid supporting cast and again she is able to acquit herself quite well in another comedy. It’s just a little unfortunate that she and her talented supporting cast are caught in a web of clichéd jokes that have been heard and seen many times before in other culture clash comedies such as Witherspoon’s last film, Legally Blonde and others such as the Crocodile Dundee films and Eddie Murphy’s Coming to America.

The film attempts to wring laughs from jokes that most people will have seen in multiple variations before. More than half of the jokes in the film revolve around people making fun of another person’s way of doing things and their routines. They come across as clichéd and pure laziness on the part of the team of writers responsible for the script. The tired script also cancels out the valiant attempt by the cast to make the material seem fresh and involving to the audience. The film paints such thinly written characters that even Witherspoon’s character, the focal point of the film, appears as not much more than a caricature. Instead of developing the potentially humorous characters and situations for all their worth, the film seems content on throwing in tired joke after tired joke in an attempt to elicit a laugh.

The aforementioned cast of known actors tries their best with the material. Witherspoon is again spunky and very charming in the main role. She really has charisma that shines through in every role she plays. She’s deft at both the comedic and dramatic material that the script by Douglas Eboch and Jay Cox throws at her. The casting of Josh Lucas is a perfect replacement for Matthew McConaughy. You will swear that it’s not Lucas in his role as the man Witherspoon needs to get divorced from before she can marry the new love of her life. Candice Bergen is a perfect fit as Witherspoon’s mother. Her various quips about the climate in the South are hilarious despite them being old hat by now because Bergen delivers them with the perfect comedic tone.

Overall, Sweet Home Alabama is blessed with a top-notch cast that finds themselves stuck in a tired old script that makes the film mediocre at best. Reese Witherspoon is the big reason to see the film because she is such an infectious personality.

Movie Guru Rating
Average but solid.  Fans of this genre will probably enjoy it.  Others may not. Average but solid.  Fans of this genre will probably enjoy it.  Others may not. Average but solid.  Fans of this genre will probably enjoy it.  Others may not.
  3 out of 5 stars

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