Sweet Home Alabama is a 2002 American romantic comedy film directed by Andy Tennant, starring Reese Witherspoon, Josh Lucas, Patrick Dempsey and Candice Bergen. The film was released by Touchstone Pictures on September 27, 2002.
Melanie Carmichael (Witherspoon) is a rising New York fashion designer who is recently engaged to Andrew Hennings (Dempsey), the man of her dreams. Her life is perfect... except that her name is actually Melanie Smooter, and she's still legally married to Jake Perry (Lucas), her childhood sweetheart. She flies home to Pigeon Creek, Alabama to force Jake to finally sign the divorce papers and, once there, finds that she misses her former home, friends, and even her soon-to-be ex-husband. Worse, her fiance and his mother show up unexpectedly and they decide to have the wedding in Alabama, forcing Melanie to confront her past rather than run from it.
Sweet Home Alabama provides examples of:
- Belligerent Sexual Tension: Between Melanie and Jake.
- Big Applesauce: Melanie moved to New York after she left Jake.
- Big Fancy House: The Carmichael Plantation, Bobby Ray's home. Melanie lies to a New York Post reporter who's really a private detective, hired by Andrew's mother claiming that the house is actually her childhood home.
- Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: Andrew's mother, Kate.
- Melanie qualifies as well during some of her more abrasive moments.
- Childhood Marriage Promise: Jake to Melanie when they were 10 years old.
- City Slicker: Kate and Andrew.
- Convenient Miscarriage: The reason why Melanie and Jake split up after their Shotgun Wedding.
- Disposable Fiancé: Poor Andrew. He seems to take it well, though.
- Divorce Is Temporary: Played with. Melanie and Jake never finalize their divorce and end up getting back together.
- Enormous Engagement Ring: When she finds out her son is engaged, Kate mentions that Melanie is wearing 'a skating rink on a very important finger.'
- First Guy Wins: Melanie and Jake knew each other as children, were already married at the beginning of the film, and we see young!Jake in a flashback in the opening sequence. Guess who she ends up with?
- Foot-Dragging Divorcee: Jake, in spades. Ironically, Melanie ends up being the one who fails to sign the divorce papers.
- I Just Want to Be Special: Implied to be the reason why Melanie ran away to New York City after her miscarriage.
- Jerkass: Melanie is absolutely unpleasant to be around, especially when she drunkenly insults everyone in a bar. She gets better as the film goes on though.
- A Minor Kidroduction: Melanie's dream at the beginning of the film; also introduces their Childhood Marriage Promise.
- Open Secret: Bobby Ray Carmichael's sexuality. When Melanie drunkenly outs him, all the women (and several of the men) present are horrified on his behalf, suggesting that they already knew.
- Pair the Spares: The only two gay characters in the film share a sexually-charged look during the non-divorce party at the end of the film
- Protagonist-Centered Morality: Melanie lies to Andrew and publicly humiliates him, dumping him at the altar. But it's romantic, apparently.
- Rich Bitch: Melanie.
- Rich Suitor, Poor Suitor: Andrew vs Jake.
- Self-Made Man: Jake starts a glassware business that turns successful, in order to win Melanie back.
- Shotgun Wedding: The reason Jake and Melanie were married in the first place. They broke up after her Convenient Miscarriage.
- Straight Gay: Bobby Ray.
- Sweet Home Alabama: Obviously.
- The City vs. the Country: Essentially the plot of the film.
- Unable to Support a Wife: It's implied that Jake thinks this is the reason Melanie left him, and he's trying to become a Self-Made Man with his glass business so that she will come back to him.