2002 Running time: 109 Certificate: 12 Not yet rated

Synopsis

Reese Witherspoon is a New York dress designer who needs a divorce from her good ol' boy hubby if she's to get hitched to the mayor's son.

Director

  • Andy Tennant

Cast

  • Reese Witherspoon

  • Patrick Dempsey

  • Josh Lucas

  • Candice Bergen

  • Mary Kay Place

  • Fred Ward

Review

Laydeez! Fancy a guy who scatters rose petals all over your flat - "one for every moment I thought of you last night?"

Or would you plump for a beau who gets Tiffany's to open at night just for you... so he can plant a sparkler on your beautifully manicured finger?

Alternatively, you could take your chances with a Bud-swigging good ol' boy with a disobedient dog and a dead-end existence in Nowhereville, USA.

These are the stark choices presented to New York clothes designer Melanie (Witherspoon) in this sagging romantic comedy.

Andrew (Dempsey) is the groomed Manhattan sophisticate with the right contacts and a mother who's mayor of the city (Bergen).

However, Jake (Lucas) has the advantage because... he's already married to Melanie, who left him for the bright lights seven years earlier.

After accepting Andrew's proposal, she heads back to Greenville, Alabama, to get Jake to sign the dotted line on the divorce papers.

Cue a battle for her heart as Melanie (who has become a "hoity-toity Yankee bitch") is forced to choose between a Duke of Hazzard or a King of the City.

As presented here, America's Deep South is a languid idyll where gays are welcomed and blacks need have no fear of the Ku Klux Klan.

When they're not line-dancing at the annual Catfish Festival, the locals are shooting pool or slugging beer atop the local water tower. In other words, it's not real.

Witherspoon excels at roles which challenge her - Legally Blonde, Cruel Intentions - but here her sharp, dark wit is neutered by a blandly formulaic script.

There are some nice scenes, particularly the one where she seeks the 'corpse' of her dad among a field full of dead in a Sons of the Confederates battle re-enactment.

And there are some good lines - her father warns her, "You can't ride two horses with one ass," when faced with the choice between Andrew and Jake.

But it's pretty average fare drawn out way beyond its welcome and that tired rock anthem of the title doesn't do much to lighten the mood.

Tim Evans

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