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Life seems almost perfect for Melanie Carmichael (Reese Witherspoon). Hailed as a rising star in the world of fashion, the young New York designer is head-over-heels in love with the handsome and eligible son of the city's mayor (Candice Bergen). When Andrew (Patrick Dempsey) unexpectedly pops the big question, only one small problem stands between this girl and her newfound happiness a husband she married in high school.
Armed again with divorce papers, Melanie heads for Pigeon Creek, Alabama. There, she confronts the man who's been avoiding her request for the past seven years. Although Jake (Josh Lucas) is surprised to see her, the last thing this redneck is willing to do is sign the forms. But with so much on the line, the chic creator is willing to stay in town with her working-class parents until her estranged spouse comes around.
For her mother, Pearl (Mary Kay Place), Melanie's new life is a Cinderella story. After pushing her daughter into beauty pageants for years, the extravagant engagement ring from Tiffany's showroom seems like adequate payoff. But her father Earl (Fred Ward), who spends his days reenacting Civil War battles for camera-wielding tourists, worries that his only child is running away from her past.
Meanwhile, Andrew's announcement is giving his socially conscious mother a public relations nightmare. Determined to find any dirt on the new fianc0xE9e before the press does, the high-strung politician engages in some strategic warfare to disrupt the wedding plans.
With sexual content limited mostly to comments, kissing and some implied relations, profanities are this film's biggest problem. Alcohol use and drunkenness are depicted, but at least some consequences result from the behavior unlike a solidly delivered punch that carries no penalty for assault.
Pitting North against South, big city against small town and the past with the future, Sweet Home Alabama is a romantic look at what happens when one girl has two good choices in her life. After reconnecting with her former friends, Melanie starts to see the positive aspects in both of her diverse worlds. And that leaves her to choose what's best for the girl inside.
Sweet Home Alabama is rated PG-13: for some language/sexual references.
Director: Andy Tennant
Cast: Reese Witherspoon, Patrick Dempsey, Josh Lucas, Candice Bergen