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Mon September 23, 2002
Sweet Home Alabama
...when people follow their hearts, much as their heads resist, everything will turn out happily.
By John DeSando, WCBE's "It's Movie Time"
Reese Witherspoon does a Meg-Ryan imitation in this typically-American romantic comedy about a successful NY fashion designer who must choose between a glamorous marriage to a handsome patrician or staying married to a charming redneck back home in sweet Alabama.
The most interesting character in "Sweet Home Alabama" is her father, the rough but charming Fred Ward, who makes a cogent comment about humans not being able to ride two horses with one ass. He also participates in Civil War re-enactments emphasizing the theme that you can't ignore history, public or personal. In Witherspoon's case, she can't ignore her Southern roots.
Witherspoon's fianc? is the son of the NY mayor, played with hard edge by Candice Bergen. She's an ice queen committed to sabotaging the marriage; in fact she reminds me of one of my former wives and could remind others of their mothers in law. Likable she is not-stereotype she is, among many others including a gay fashion designer and too many good-old boys.
Nothing weighty happens but the very predictable jokes about yokels from the South and snobs from the north converging with the lesson that when people follow their hearts, much as their heads resist, everything will turn out happily.
Many young ladies in the audience responded enthusiastically to Witherspoon, so I have placed "Election" on my schedule to see her at her best. In "Sweet Home Alabama" she comports herself well in an otherwise stock situation of country versus city. The trailer will show you which side wins.
At least one film critic says the proposal scene is the best ever in cinema history. See for yourself, but watch out whom you bring to this movie-you may end up making a lifetime choice under the spell of this light romance.
John DeSando co-hosts WCBE's "It's Movie Time" and vice chairs the board of The Film Council of Greater Columbus.