Sweet Home Alabama is not a film I would normally watch. Like my previous review of Funny People, this review largely exists because I bought a 120-film (actually ended up being just shy of 140) mystery movie pack on eBay. Unlike Funny People though, which I loved a lot, Sweet Home Alabama is not.
Directed by Andy Tennant and written by C. Jay Cox, Sweet Home Alabama is a comedy film starring Reese Whitherspoon, Josh Lucas, and Patrick Dempsey. The film has a straightforward premise – following a young woman who has left her small ‘hick’ town in favor of the bright lights of New York City. Everything changes, however, when her boyfriend proposes to her, and she now must return home to Alabama to force her husband to finally sign the divorce papers he had been ignoring for all these years. Her husband is reluctant, and makes her jump through hoops in-order to convince him, helping her rediscover the hometown she left behind.
I am not left with a lot to say about this film. I think, maybe, first, I should reiterate that it isn’t a film I would normally watch. In the title Sweet Home Alabama, “Sweet” is as prevalent to the story-line as Alabama is. The film is overtly sentimental and completely saccharine in its approach.
In the real world, a person wouldn’t have to jump through these types of hoops for a divorce and, if they did, their husband wouldn’t be seen as anything other than the antagonist of the film. Instead, the film romanticizes his unruly behavior, framing it as though Reese Whitherspoon’s character is in need of a reality. And, maybe she is. Her character makes rude comments directed at her hometown, as well as unwarranted, rude comments (but only after she has been harassed by her husband) toward certain townspeople.
However, who is her husband to appoint himself the moderator on who needs a “reality check”? If she doesn’t want to be married to you, leave her the hell alone and let her be on with her life!
In fact, the only character in this whole film that I feel should be absolved of all criticism is the fiancee, who is understanding throughout the whole film, in spite of being lied to and, frankly, mistreated.
Maybe I am overthinking it? And, maybe that is what it comes down to for a film like Sweet Home Alabama. The story is generic, embroidered with vague, under-cooked subplots (the fiances’ mother has an issue with Alabama, but they don’t really do a whole lot with it), and goofy sentiment. You don’t need to think for this film.
The humor is squeaky-clean and sanitized, and about what you would see on a television movie – the characters aren’t notable and the camera’s only pointed at them to document what’s in-front of it.
I review a lot of films, and a lot of them are probably worse than Sweet Home Alabama, all things considered. I review films like Winnie the Pooh: Blood & Honey and I can tell you this film is better all around than that film. That in mind, it has been awhile since I felt so much “nothing” about a film like I did this film.