Making only a minimal effort to be any different or better than the hundreds of other forgettable, predictable, almost-married-the-wrong-guy romantic comedies that have come before it, "Sweet Home Alabama" has the benefit of a talented, appealing cast and the burden of being entirely dependent on clichés to drive its story.
Reese Witherspoon stars as Melanie Carmichael, a rising-star designer in New York's fashion world who is downright giddy about her new engagement to the political mover-and-shaker son (Patrick Dempsey) of the city's image-conscious mayor (Candice Bergen). In the movie's most romantic scene, Mr. Wonderful proposes by getting down on one knee at Tiffany's, which he's arranged to stay open after hours, and telling her to pick any ring she wants.
But there's one little wrinkle Melanie's fiancé doesn't know about: Before she can marry him, she'll have to divorce her hayseed childhood sweetheart back in small-town Alabama. A handsome, blue-eyed charmer named Jake (Josh Lucas, "A Beautiful Mind") with a playful Paul Newman smirk, she did nothing but fight with him once the magic wore off their relationship, so Melanie bailed out to follow her ambition.
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