Starring: Reese Witherspoon, Josh Lucas, Candice Bergen, Patrick Dempsey Director: Andy Tennant Category: IIA Reese Witherspoon became a star in her own right courtesy of last year's sleeper hit Legally Blonde. America had unearthed this century's Doris Day. To her credit, in that film Witherspoon did the most with what she was given, carrying off the flimsiest of scripts with her infectious wide-eyed charm. Things are much the same in Sweet Home Alabama. This is Witherspoon's film, and hers alone. And again, she rises to the challenge. She plays Melanie Carmichael, New York glamour puss and all-round success story. She has taken the designer fashion world by storm and is about to marry the boy of her dreams (Patrick Dempsey) whose mother (Candice Bergen) is mayor of the city. On the surface, all is going swimmingly for Melanie, but she has a deep, dark secret: she has been married before, way down South, and has never divorced her childhood sweetheart (Josh Lucas). So, before she can finish her ascendancy, she must clean up the mess she left behind. But things never go according to plan in light-hearted romps, and once back home Melanie finds she has not come quite as far - or changed quite as much - as she would like to think. Director Andy Tennant (Anna And The King) gives his lead a few rough edges - she's arrogant and over-confident - but such is Witherspoon's likability that you'll be cheering for her anyway. It helps that the production is given a squeaky clean shine and the support cast is strong: Bergen, as always, is a treat and Dempsey and Lucas are both attractive in their own ways. In short, Tennant has ensured there's something here for everyone. Most of the laughs come from the clash between the now-big city babe and the 'simple' folk back home - taking equal parts out of both sides along the way - and, for the most part, it works. It's nothing new, but Witherspoon manages to keep it fresh and sincere. While lacking the inventiveness of her breakthrough effort, it certainly seems that America's darling can do little wrong. Sweet Home Alabama opens today.