"The South Shall Rise Again!"
What You Need To Know:
SWEET HOME ALABAMA stars Reese Witherspoon as Melanie Carmichael, a New York fashion designer who finds herself engaged to Andrew, the son of the city’s glamorous female mayor. There’s only one hitch, well, actually several hitches. Not only has Melanie lied about her last name, she’s also lied about her working class parents. To top it off, Melanie’s still married to Jake, with whom she had a big argument before leaving. Melanie quietly returns to her hometown, but Jake still refuses to give Melanie a divorce, so Melanie takes some drastic actions to force his hand. Comical complications ensue.
SWEET HOME ALABAMA is more interested in telling how Melanie regains her Southern roots than it is in generating lots of big laughs. Viewers expecting a laugh-out-loud comedy should stay home, but not if they want to see a cute love story debunking some Southern stereotypes. Best of all is the fact that, for once, a Hollywood villain turns out to be a Yankee Democrat. Regrettably, however, there are a couple homosexual characters and plenty of mostly light foul language in SWEET HOME ALABAMA. Thus, MOVIEGUIDE® advises strong caution, especially for older children and young teenagers
(BB, Ho, PC, LLL, V, S, N, A, D, M) Moral worldview that corrects some Southern stereotypes and, for a welcome change, makes a Yankee Democrat the villain, marred by positive references to homosexuality, which are approached in a light politically correct tone; about 26 mostly light obscenities, three strong profanities and 17 light profanities; some light comic violence such as Southern woman punches snooty Eastern woman; no sex scenes but two homosexual characters; upper male nudity in one scene; alcohol use; smoking; and, lying and issues about divorce.
Lynyrd Skynyrd’s famous rock anthem, “Sweet Home Alabama,” is a jaunty, defiant reply to Neil Young’s politically correct diatribe against the American South, “Southern Man.” Featuring such lyrics as, “Now, Watergate does not bother me; does your conscience bother you, tell me true,” Skynyrd’s defiant anthem is so catchy that it makes one ashamed of liking Neil Young’s angry protest song. Now, with another Southerner occupying the White House, Hollywood has seen fit to capitalize on the popularity of this song by releasing a new romantic comedy featuring the song, and also using its title.
SWEET HOME ALABAMA stars Reese Witherspoon as Melanie Carmichael, a New York fashion designer who hails from the South. Melanie finds herself engaged to the most eligible bachelor in town, Andrew, the son of the city’s glamorous female mayor. There’s only one hitch, well, actually several hitches. Not only has Melanie lied about her last name, she’s also lied about who her parents are. Instead of coming from a rich Southern family, Melanie actually comes from a working class home. To top it off, she’s still married to Jake, with whom she had a big argument before she decided to leave for New York City. Jake refused to give Melanie a divorce, so she just took off for the bright lights in the big city.
When Melanie quietly returns to her hometown, Jake still refuses to give Melanie a divorce. Her quiet return turns into another loud argument with Jake. Melanie decides to take some drastic actions to force Jake’s hand. Comical complications ensue, especially when Andrew decides he’s going to make a surprise visit to Melanie at the Southern mansion that Melanie claimed as her family home.
It becomes clear through the telling of this story that Melanie is ashamed of her Southern, working class roots. The story shows, however, that you can take the girl out of the South, but you can’t take the South out of the girl.
SWEET HOME ALABAMA is more interested in telling the story of how Melanie regains her Southern roots than it is in generating lots of big laughs. Viewers expecting a laugh-out-loud comedy should stay home. Viewers, however, who would rather see a charming, cute love story that debunks some Southern stereotypes might just want to check this movie out.
That’s not to say that this movie doesn’t completely avoid all Southern stereotypes. The movie does, however, treat the South with a fair amount of respect. Even better, the villain of the movie, if such a light movie as this can be said to have a villain, turns out to be Andrew’s snooty mother, the mayor, who just happens to be a Democrat. The snooty liberal eventually gets her comeuppance in some of the movie’s funniest scenes. In one of them, Melanie’s real father shouts excitedly, “The South has risen again!”
Regrettably, however, two of the minor male characters in SWEET HOME ALABAMA are homosexually inclined. The filmmakers have decided to take a politically correct approach in the scenes regarding their alleged homosexual identity. In reality, of course, everyone is really, deep inside, a heterosexual, and homosexuality is more a lack of desire to share intimate relations with one’s opposite sex than it is an active sexual identity that leads to anywhere positive.
SWEET HOME ALABAMA also contains a significant amount of foul language. Most of the foul language is light, but it creeps into the dialogue nearly 50 times. Thus, MOVIEGUIDE® advises a strong caution, especially for older children and very young teenagers.