Reese Witherspoon plays a successful New York fashion designer who, after her sudden engagement to a JFK Jr.-like socialite (Patrick Dempsey), hightails it to her backwater home in Alabama in order to secure a divorce from her white trash husband (Josh Lucas, who comes across as an angry Matthew McConaughey). And already we're being asked to like a character who hides her past – her poverty, her wild youth, even her husband – from somebody she apparently loves enough to want to marry. Especially when he's conveniently the son of the Mayor of New York (an awful Candice Bergen).
That Sweet Home Alabama is predictable – the very tagline of the film pretty much tells you who Witherspoon is going to wind up with – would be forgivable if the movie had some sense of energy, creativity, or love. Instead it slumps along, morosely, its characters mostly just arguing and feeling sorry for themselves. Watching the movie is like listening to someone you're dating, but don't care much for, whine for hours on the phone. The thing is, even with this stale premise, Sweet Home Alabama could have been a delightful movie if it had a little zing to it. But what Tennant and Co. have produced is just a joyless chore to watch.
I will pass along the expected kudos to my Claustrophobia stars Melanie Lynskey and Mary Lynn Rajskub for actually having some fun with their small roles. (They're the only reason I watched this movie.) Ethan Embry also acquits himself well. If only there were more of them, and less of Bergen, and frankly less of Witherspoon and her unlikable character, Sweet Home Alabama might not have been such a drag.