SWEET HOME ALABAMA
Review by Ruth E. Ferguson
Bergen, Fred Ward, Jean Smart, Josh Lucas, Mary Kay Place, and Patrick Dempsey
Director: Andy Tennant
Video: Anamorphic Widescreen 2.35:1
Audio: Dolby Digital 5.1 – English, Dolby Digital 5.1 – French
Features: 8 Deleted Scenes w/intro by Director, Alternate Ending, Audio Commentary by Andy Tennant – Director, Trailers, Music Video - 1. SHeDAISY - "Mine All Mine", Scene Access, Interactive Menus
Length: 109 Minutes
Release Date: February 4, 2003
Melanie Campbell (Witherspoon) fled her Southern roots
seven years ago for the Big Apple and the fashion design world.
She left behind her Mom (Place), Dad (Ward) and oh yeah, her husband Jake
(Lucas). In New York she not only
develops a successful career as a designer, but also receives a wedding proposal
from the Mayor’s son, Andrew (Dempsey) in the famed Tiffany’s department
store. But before she can run off
and live happily ever after, she must handle one pesky detail – her divorce
So Melanie returns home, a place that even she admits is so
foreign to her now, that it should require a passport to visit.
It does not take long for Melanie to ruffle feathers with her snooty ways
and strange clothes. And they are not slow to remind her of her infamous past in
the town, with escapades that include a certain incident with a poor cat.
At times Melanie can appear rather mean-spirited; something
that did not happen in Reese’s breakout hit of 2001, Legally Blonde,
and this can cause you to not warm up to her as much this time out.
In fact, the more interesting characters are her love interests.
Jake and Andrew not only look very good, but their characters are such
nice guys you feel like Melanie has the prime example of a win-win situation. By the way, it is no coincidence that Andrew reminds you of
JFK, Jr. In a smaller role, Bergen
plays his mother and mayor of New York, she is very good Murphy Brown
form with a very sarcastic tongue.
Lucas has been in several films, but never before in a sexy
leading man role, but you should recognize him from Beautiful Mind and The
Deep End. Hopefully, Lucas will
have more opportunities to star as a sexy hunk. 2002 saw a moderate comeback for Dempsey, who also appeared
in Emperor’s Club. In both
he was charming and funny, maybe 2003 will see more roles for him as well.
The transfer is rather good, not outstanding, but it
highlights the wonderful scenery well with a rich color palette.
Only visual disappointment is the opening menu, fairly bland and similar
to the cover.
Sweet Home Alabama comes in Dolby Digital 5.1, again
nothing particularly special but no detractions either.
The music soundtrack is pleasant, including the SHeDAISY
"Mine All Mine" music video..
A dubbed French language track is included, also in Dolby Digital 5.1.
The extras on the disc include eight deleted scenes with an
introduction of each by director Andy Tennant explaining why they were
eliminated. Several of the cut
scenes featured a character that flirted with Andrew in Melanie’s absence from
New York. The focus groups that saw
the early screenings felt it took away from the charm of Andrew because they
were convinced he cheated on Melanie.
Also included is the alternate ending for the film, which
Tennant introduces and then returns following the clip to provide more
explanation on why it was rightfully cut. In
addition, Tennant can be heard on the audio commentary track.
He points out interesting details such as how all the clouds in the
opening and closing scene is completely CGI and some parts of the closing scene
were not even filmed in the same city. The
production locations included Florida, Atlanta and New York City.