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This Review Reveals Minor Details About the Plot.

No Place Like It

Sweet Home Alabama on IMDb

Plot Overview

football playerPigeon Creek, Alabama, pop. 3564, sees ten-year-olds Melanie Smooter (Dakota Fanning) & Jake Perry (Thomas Curtis) get struck by lightning while playing kissy-face in a thunder­storm. They talked silly about marriage. Kids! The town's name, how­ever, presages where as adults they'll end up one day sans paddle. The smoocher grew into the town's most infamous JD “Felony Melanie,” getting into trouble at stock­yard, fish­pond and bank. Jake played high school foot­ball. The night of a big win Melanie was “the first girl to climb into the back of your truck.” She fell pregnant.

bought at counterThey summarily got hitched. That would pretty much define a small town girl's future, except she had a miscarriage and with “too much to live for” left for New York. There going by Melanie Carmichael (Reese Wither­spoon) she befriends Tabatha “Tabby” Wadmore-Smith (Rhona Mitra) a picky number who is unlikely to ever find a guy suited to her tastes. She introduces Melanie to gay, black fashion designer Frederick Montana who takes her under his wing and mentors her (“She is his protégé”) in clothing design. At a New Year's Eve party further down the line, she meets her prince charming, Andrew Hennings (Patrick Dempsey) who in a case of “classic rebound” from his high society ex, mistakes her for a debutante, dates her for all of eight months, and proposes dramatically. She is already in a head-spin over her fashion show success and way too tired to think clearly. She accepts but with serious unspoken reservations. It's like a bit from a James Patterson novel if one were to switch the sexes:

In a strained voice Mattie said, “We had a whirlwind romance shortly after you hired me. We were engaged in six months. But I eventually found out that Chris was a troubled man, Jack. There was a part of him that I could not know. He never talked about his child­hood. But there was some­thing from that time that haunted him. The longer I was with him, the more I could feel how large a space it occupied in his soul. I pleaded with him to tell me, but he refused. Finally I decided I couldn't marry a man with so much unknown inside him, no matter how much I loved him. It wouldn't be fair—” (95–6)

photographerIt is a faux engagement as she's still married to Jake (Josh Lucas) back in Alabama, Jake refuses to sign the papers, and a contested divorce would take 18 months—too long. She moves in as a hostile wife in order to manipulate him. During the ensuing marriage war, the town sheriff arrests her, her red­neck friends try to take up with her as before, her doting parents do their best to sort it all out, lover-boy Andrew pays a surprise visit, his mom Kate Hennings (Candice Bergen) who's Mayor of New York has a cow, and the press show up to interview Melanie at her supposed plantation—not her real home­stead a double-wide. Some­body hand that girl a paddle.


Cupid's dartThe not unexpected romance that rekindles between the son & daughter of the south is so off the wall as to be prepos­terous were it not for the movie world preparing us for it. Think along the lines of, (Prov. 30:18-19) “There be three things which are too wonderful for me, yea, four which I know not: The way of an eagle in the air; the way of a serpent upon a rock; the way of a ship in the midst of the sea; and the way of a man with a maid.” The ancient writer of this saying cannot track an eagle drifting on the air currents, or a slithering serpent on a rock, or a ship tossed on the waves, much less “the way of a man with a maid.”

Kaboom!The air show in this movie consists of a couple Civil War buffs reenacting the IED's placed in the path of advancing Yankees, blowing chunks of metal sky high, and who knows where they'll all land.

CatsThe serpentine motion of a tormented cat scurrying down the street is the stuff of legend.

The water scene of a hound dog playing fetch with a weighted object in a pond of unknown depth leaves us biting our nails waiting for it to surface.

Production Values

” (2002) was directed by Andy Tennant. The screenplay was by C. Jay Cox based on a Douglas J. Eboch story. It stars Reese Wither­spoon, Patrick Dempsey and Josh Lucas. Wither­spoon shone with her usual effer­vescent screen presence, this time with a southern accent creeping in towards the end. The other actors played their parts well, if conservatively, so as not to upstage the comedic genius of the script.

Stonewall JacksonMPA rated it PG–13 for some language/sexual references. It had a good sound­track and direction, beautiful scenery and good cinema­tog­raphy. Earl and Pearl the protagonist's parents were a study in harmon­izing opposing views on their daughter's future. The southerners had turned their military defeat into a moral issue played with dignity. The victorious north engendered a successful black whom one wouldn't expand his chest over, while the coloreds of the south seemed to know their place and get along. The Democrat mother was played straight allowing the audience to make up their own minds. It was filmed on location in Eufaula, Alabama, USA. Runtime is 1¾ hours. They wisely got rid of the original, irksome ending.

Review Conclusion w/a Christian's Recommendation

in handThese honkies did not wear their religion on their sleeves, but their speech mentioned God and his ways, while the Yankees not so much. There was a Bible-toting minister to officiate at the wedding, which­ever way it went. The opposing grooms got along better than did the women. Friend­ships from both sides of the Mason-Dixon line were enduring. The lawyer was harried and the cat had an encore. It had a happy ending. I liked it and recommend it.

Movie Ratings

Action Factor: Weak action scenes. Suitability for Children: Suitable for children 13+ years with guidance. Special effects: Average special effects. Video Occasion: Fit For a Friday Evening. Suspense: Keeps you on the edge of your seat. Overall movie rating: Four stars out of five.

Works Cited

Scripture is taken from the King James Version. Pub. 1611, rev. 1769. Software.

Patterson, James and Mark Sullivan. Private Berlin. Copyright © 2013 by James Patterson. New York: Grand Central PublishingTM, 2013. Print.