Y’all come back…to reality. Sweet Home Alabama is loaded with Southern embellishments, despite star Josh Lucas’ efforts. ”I knew if I made any mistakes with it…my family would kill me,” says the Arkansas native. But locals are tough critics. ”Some of it was Yankee fantasy,” says Carol Collins, 45, of Birmingham. ”We do have ATMs here,” adds Odenville, Ala., resident Brandy Chapman, 21, though she concedes, ”I have seen a few mullets.” Here’s where the truth got fuzzier than a Georgia peach. — Scott Brown, with additional reporting by Jennifer Armstrong and Erin Shaw
ALL OVER THE MAP In the film, Witherspoon’s Melanie and Lucas’ Jake take long strolls along the beach. But while Butler County, Ala., does have a Pigeon Creek and a Greenville (two towns in the movie), they’re more than 100 miles from the Gulf of Mexico — with no rivers or large lakes nearby. Not surprisingly, the landlocked county has no Catfish Festival.
FAR-FETCHED Forget trying to re-create Melanie and Jake’s talk near a canine crypt. ”I know some coon dogs and some coon hunters,” says Greenville Area Chamber of Commerce executive director Carol Lee, ”but no coon dog cemeteries.”
BABIES’ NIGHT? Despite Witherspoon’s shock at finding ”a baby…in a bar,” Alabamans don’t kid around with the law. ”An 18-year-old just leaning against the jukebox would be a violation,” says Bob Wallace of the state alcohol control board. But Eric Fennell, owner of Greenville’s Front Street Pub, says an ex-mayor once brought in his young grandson for a special event: ”I wasn’t going to tell the mayor no.” Interesting, because that’s what New York City’s Tiffany & Co. said when asked if it would open after hours so a beau could pop the question in style — as Patrick Dempsey does. ”It’s not something we would normally do,” says a store spokeswoman. ”But the character is the mayor’s son.”