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Sweet Home Alabama (2002)

Sometimes what youre looking for is right where you left it

Directed by:

Andy Tennant

Rating: 6/10

Running Time: 108 minutes

UK Certificate: 12

On DVD

Country: United States

Reese Witherspoon stars as Melanie Carmichael, an up-and-coming New York fashion designer. Beautiful and successful, it appears she has everything. Even her upcoming wedding to the perfectly handsome and charming Andrew (Patrick Dempsey), son of city mayor Kate Hennings (Candice Bergen), is a fairy tale come true. However, Melanie has a few skeletons in the closet of her past that she will have to deal with before she is free to marry. She has concealed her poor Southern background from her big-city friends, and worse – her poor redneck husband too. Jake Perry (Josh Lucas) was her high-school sweetheart whom she married when she was young, but she left their tiny Alabama town years earlier to seek her fortune leaving him behind.

Now Melanie has to return to her roots in order to convince him to give her the divorce she seeks – although they haven't seen each other for years, he has always refused to sign the papers. The more time she spends at home, the more she realises that she had good times there, and the more she starts to see her friends and family in a new light. Jake has never stopped loving her, and it is clear that she still feels something for him too, but the situation becomes even more complicated when Andrew arrives from the city for a surprise visit and finds out the truth. Melanie will have to decide is she's really a big city businesswoman or an old-fashioned Southern girl.

This is a well-executed romantic comedy with some charm, although it really contains nothing new – it is clear what Melanie is going to do from the moment her situation becomes clear. Indeed, it is hard to see why she left Jake in the first place, since he has plenty of fine qualities of his own. The film's Southern feel does add to its charm, however, with small town life touchingly recreated and accents being accurate without being overdone. Never far from their Confederate roots, the people who live there come across as authentic and down-to-earth. 'Sweet Home Alabama' has some merit, less in the story it seeks to tell than in the way it chooses to tell it. The soundtrack also includes the song 'Falling Down' by popular teen singer Avril Lavigne.

It's Got: A knack for taking a swipe at those who espouse democratic values while retaining their conservative attitudes.

It Needs: That something unusual to make it stand out from others of its ilk.

DVD Extras A reasonable collection of extras for a single-disc release, which includes a much-appreciated directors commentary. Extras: Directors commentary, Deleted scenes, Alternate ending. Music Video: Mine All Mine by SheDaisy. DVD Extras Rating: 5/10

Summary

Pleasant romantic comedy that is well executed but provides little that is unexpected.

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