Roger Ebert, critic for the Chicago Sun Times, awarded it three-out-of-four stars, commenting, "It is a fantasy, a sweet, light-hearted fairy tale with Reese Witherspoon at its center. She is as lovable as Doris Day would have been in this role... So I enjoyed Witherspoon and the local color, but I am so very tired of the underlying premise." Andrew Sarris, critic for the New York Observer, said that the movie "Would be an unendurable viewing experience for this ultra-provincial New Yorker if 26-year-old Reese Witherspoon were not on hand to inject her pure fantasy character, Melanie Carmichael, with a massive infusion of old-fashioned Hollywood magic."
"Sweet Home Alabama" follows Melanie as she travels to her Alabama hometown to finalize her divorce from her childhood sweetheart, Jake (Lucas), so she can marry Andrew (Patrick Dempsey), the son of the New York City mayor (Candice Bergen).
Tennant: The studio felt the movie needed a better opening. So I went home and talked to my wife and she said, "I was proposed to at Tiffany's." And I was like, "What?" And she told me how a former boyfriend had proposed there. Now, not the way Patrick's character did it where it's private after-hours, but that began the idea.
In the movie's most dramatic scene, Melanie goes to see the gravesite of her old dog Bear. She begins to cry, but about much more than the loss of her dog. She's recalling the life she had with Jake and the baby they lost due to her miscarriage. When Jake shows up in the scene, Melanie is at her most vulnerable and they kiss. Jake pulls her away and tells her to go home, back to New York City. In the original scene, she slaps him and walks away. That part was eventually cut out of the movie. 2b1af7f3a8