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Oh, Sweet Mercy!

Some movies are better on video. You can talk over them, pause them to study cute outfits, rewind the good parts over and over and fast-forward the waste-of-my-life, totally predictable ending.

Sweet Home Alabama, the Reese Witherspoon comedy now playing, is one of those movies. It's not that it's a bad flick; in fact, the dynamic cast and sometimes hilarious script make some scenes wonderful. But the movie's rushed pacing makes us feel like we're running after the plot in five-inch stilettos--no matter how hard we try, we'll never catch up. Besides the rapid-fire introduction of the characters, story events are glazed over faster than Marketplace barbecue. And I won't even discuss the ending--mainly because you can guess it from the 60-second trailer they show on TV.

But if the journey is more important than the destination, Sweet Home is a pleasant ride. Witherspoon does everything right--she carries the movie with laid-back charm and makes a potentially annoying heroine shine.

Playing Melanie, an up-and-coming New York fashion designer whose dirty little secret lives in a dirty little Alabama town, Reese returns home to divorce the husband nobody in the city knew she had. After some soul food and a few days with her soul mate, she realizes roots aren't just the brunette tops of her hair. Charming chaos ensues, with the help of romantic rivals (and excellent actors) Josh Lucas and Patrick Dempsey, and Melanie realizes home sweet home isn't so bad after all.

Sweet Home Alabama is an adorable comedy, but its rushed rhythm and cheesier-than-Easy-Mac ending make it a better movie to watch in the privacy of another sweet home--yours.


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