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Kino Korner December 11, 2002
 
Die Now, Not Another Day!
By Mark Ames Browse author Email
 
Page 3 of 3
 
After her shallow JFK-Jr-esque son proposes to Witherspoon, we learn that she has a skeleton in her closet -- she's still married to her childhood hick sweetheart. So she heads back to the sticks for the first time in seven years to try to convince Jebb to sign the divorce papers so that she can continue her climb up to the top.

Here is where the movie's Lie Factor cracks the glass. You just know she's going to give it all up -- the wealth, the fame, the power, the apartment on Central Park -- for dumb, poor Jebb and humid, mosquito-infested Alabama. Why are we supposed to believe such a transformation? Because the target audience already comes to the movie believing that lie in-advance. The illogic needs no explanation; the transformation is pre-ordained.

As in all chick flicks, the men are grotesquely sensitive, unrealistic, and do nothing during work hours but pay attention to the female lead. That's the female fantasy in action. There is also a snappy gay black model just to round out the whole chick flick cliche. Aren't those gays just so much fun?!

Sure every woman fantasizes about being paid attention to by two perfect men -- one rich, sensitive and powerful; the other handsome, outdoorsy, and yes, sensitive too (it turns out that Jimbo makes art, some kind of shitty blown glass) -- but I'd like to meet just one woman in the history of mankind who ever left a rich, powerful man from the Big City for a dumb yokel from her shameful past. In art, romantic poverty-love wins out over power-money-love at least 95% of the time, unless the artist is a "cynic." Most women believe that myth about themselves (even Sofia claimed she'd never choose money over love and accused me of being "cynical"). Yet it never, ever has happened in the annals of human history, and never will.

Sadder than that however is Middle America's slavish view of itself. You realize pretty early on that Sweet Home is not for New Yorkers, who don't need any flattering or attention, but for Middle Americans who are awed and cowed by the Big City. Even though the movie grossly caricatures hicks, I'm sure this movie made all its profits in Middle America because when it comes down to it, hicks are happy to be laughed at -- or recognized in any way -- by the New York/ Los Angeles elite. At one point, Jimbo the hick boyfriend even says, "Honey, just cuz I talk slow don't mean that I'm stupid." Profound lines like that fill hicks with a sense of knowing pride, trust me.

Only a Big City Populist could possibly be offended by the caricatures of Alabamans as Confederate-obsessed lazy sacks of shit and closet homosexuals. Based on my year in Kentucky, I don't think that the caricatures were all that far off the mark. People there did talk funny. Half the men in KY were closet homosexuals, and the other half were simply miserable. Yet they were infinitely more tolerable than just about anywhere else in the US. Especially the yapping restaurant-hopping maggots who infest the East Coast big cities.

RATING

If you watch this movie with a "date" like I did, your curiosity about her will help dull the pain that this movie might inspire. If, however, you watch it with whom you have already slept, and she enjoys the movie or sighs even once, then there's a fifty-fifty chance that her head will wind up in the back of your freezer. For fairness's sake, I'll have to give this one and a half Ted Bundys for mild serial-murder-inducing scenes, particularly the predictable ending.

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Ames
Browse author
Email Mark Ames at editor@exile.ru.
 
 
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