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lMovie Review
"Sweet Home Alabama"
By Mira Harber

America offically has a new sweetheart and her name is Reese Witherspoon. She is cute, blonde, smart and sexy in a wholesome sort of way and she can 'open' a movie. Did you see Legally Blonde, The Importance Of Being Earnest, Election or Freeway? Ms. Witherspoon was a significant presence in all these films. She's been acting since she was a teenager.  I first saw her about 10 years ago as a terribly troubled teen from a white trash background who fights for her life against the villanous Kiefer Sutherland in Freeway. She was wonderful then, and she's only gotten better. 

The reason that I'm waxing eloquent about Ms. Witherspoon is that she is reason enough, on her own, to go see Sweet Home Alabama
The story isn't too terribly original.  Melanie (Witherspoon) is a smart, sassy young girl who makes it in New York City as a world famous fashion designer and is asked for her hand in marriage,  in Tiffany's no less, by her boyfriend Andrew (Patrick Dempsey), a JFK Jr. lookalike. There are only two tiny problems to be overcome. 1) Her boyfriends mother Kate (Candice Bergen) is the mayor of New York and she doesn't cotton to Melanie one little bit and 2) Melanie just happens to already be married! Yes, when she was a young girl she married her childhood sweetheart Jake (Josh Lucas) and soon after she ran away to NYC. Now this was seven years ago, and Jake hasn't seen her since. All these years he has steadfastly refused to give her a divorce, and now Melanie must go home, to her roots, see her past and confront it. Whatever will happen?

Well, if you haven't figured it out by now, shame on you. For some reason Hollywood always likes to paint the big smoke (aka NYC) as an evil, cold and heartless place and anywhere small as heartfelt, salt of the earth and infinitely better. Let's see - in real life, who do you think the girl would pick  -the successful son of a wealthy, political family or a hick from the sticks? Hmmmm…..  We get to see Melanie re-discover her roots and the aw-shuks, wonnerful townspeople, and of course, she re-discovers her love for her ex too.

Whatever - the plot is obvious from the get-go, but Reese Witherspoon is so charming, and her soon to be ex a little more interesting and complex than we first give him credit for that we don't care. I liked this movie and thought it was a fun way to spend a couple of hours. Good date movie. The supporting cast of players are fun too. Melanie's parents Pearl and Earl (Mary Kay Place & Fred Ward) are played as over-the-top white trash parents who have hearts of gold and Candice Bergen is totally over-the-top as the uber-controlling mother of the groom. She has one of the funniest lines in the movie when she hisses at Pearl "Oh, why don't you go home to your double-wide and fry some chicken".

Welcome America's newest sweetheart. Julia Roberts, move over, you've just been replaced. 


 
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