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September 30, 2002 - Image 5

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The Michigan Daily, 2002-09-30

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Monday
Septe.ber 33, 2002
michigandaily.com/arts
mae@michigandaily.com

ARTS

5A

Witherspoon makes 'Alabama'
the best date movie of the year

By Ryan Lewis
Daily Arts Writer

Courtesy of CBS
Caruso momentarily remembers his previous television success and the years of film failure that followed.
Caruso ed 'CSI: Miami' shows
promise in world of spinoffs

By Daniel Yowell
For the Daily

Following the success of NBC's
"Law and Order" spinoffs - "Spe-
cial Victims Unit," "Criminal Intent"
and "Crime and Punishment" -
CBS has revealed an extension of its
own hit crime drama, "CSI," in the
form of "CSI: Miami."
Thankfully, as far as
spinoffs go, "CSI:
Miami" is not bad. In **
other words, it's CSI:
nowhere near the
atrocity that was, say, Mondays ai
"Baywatch Nights."
Nonetheless, the series CB
premiere of "Miami"
suffers due to its horribly improba-
ble storyline, which drags down its
more favorable elements.
"NYPD Blue" alumni David
Caruso and Kim Delaney star as
crime scene investigators Horatio
Caine and Megan Donner. Megan,
formerly Horatio's boss, returns
from a leave of absence to find, that
Horatio is now ranked above her.
Naturally, Caruso's character is a
hard-boiled, go-with-your-gut detec-
tive, whose hunches unfailingly
Courtesyoif.CBS
Khandi Alexander is going to Miami.

A
t
iS

conflict with Delaney's methodical,
scientific approach. This is really
old hat for anyone who has ever
read a book or watched a movie, or
gotten out of bed, for that matter.
The lack of a truly dynamic rela-
tionship between the two lead char-
acters, or any of the expendable
supporting actors, is truly disap-
pointing. Considering
the amount of talent in
the cast, expectations
were high.
1AMI Bear in mind that
this is not a condemna-
t 10 p.m. tion of "CSI: Miami,"
but the crime that was
S investigated in the
series premiere was
laughable. Perhaps this will improve
as the show continues, but the first
episode was just ridiculous. For
starters, the story centers around the
crash of a company plane in the
Everglades. Predictably, the plane
was carrying executives of a corpo-
ration suspected of cooking their
books and Horatio can smell foul
play from square one. After some
investigation, it is revealed that a
number of things went wrong on
that flight. First, a rivet from the
poorly constructed plane's door
popped out, killing the pilot. But
was this what brought the plane
down? No. Actually, it was a shoe
that did it. A shoe! An employee
who was going to expose her boss's
misdeeds at the deposition was
pushed out of the airplane's door
and her shoe got caught in the tur-
bineethus causing the plane to
crash. Of course, the CSI team was
able to deduce all of this with rela-
tive ease. The writers were really
reaching on this one.
"CSI: Miami" also includes a few
too many cheeseball moments to
allow it to be taken seriously.
Although the performances are bor-

Something about Reese Wither-
spoon has been drawing audiences
to her movies in a way that no other
current young actress can. Lately,
she has the charisma, the charm and
the acting chops that originally had
the public buzzing about Julia
Roberts. She shines both on screen
and off, making most women envi-
ous of either her real
life or those of the
roles she plays. Right
now, it seems that she
can do no wrong. SWEET
"Sweet Home Alaba- ALA
ma" is one movie
where her presence At Shom
raises the entire quality Quay
of the movie as her act-
ing is superb and her Touc
on-screen chemistry
with Josh Lucas makes this the date
movie of the year.
Melanie Carmichael (Wither-
spoon, "Election") has a life of
which most women can only dream.
With a blossoming career in fashion
design and a boyfriend, Andrew
(Patrick Dempsey, "Loverboy"),
known as the most eligible bachelor
in New York, how could she ask for
anything more? But her world turns
upside down after Andrew asks her
to marry him in a proposal scene
that will surely be remembered as
one of the most impressive. After he
kneels and tells her to pick any ring
in the Tiffany's store, she apparently
needs to keep the engagement a
secret until she can clear unsettled
business back home, in Alabama.
When his mother (Candice Bergen),
the mayor of New York and stereo-
typical stuck-up Yankee, discovers
the ring and accidentally flashes it to
the ever-present press, Melanie's sit-
uation becomes a little more press-
ing than she had hoped.
Finding herself swept back into
the world she left behind, we quickly
learn that this southern belle hides a
checkered past. She has a husband
that she must divorce before she can
have this dream wedding. The only
problem is that Jake (Josh Lucas,
"American Psycho") wants her to
remember her roots before signing
the papers. In a whirlwind of old
stories and older friends, Melanie
soon reinvents her southern accent,

B
it
,hst

ingly deadpan, Caruso manages to
deliver one-liners that would make
any viewer cringe. When a possible
plane crash survivor is located, Hor-
atio runs to the scene, shouting,
"Stay with us!" which is followed by
a commercial break. Worse yet is the
somber scene where a corrupt busi-
ness executive is found, having com-
mitted suicide by hanging himself.
Horatio looks up just to say, "You're
really swingin' now, huh, Scott?"
There are good things that can be
said about "CSI: Miami" and they
mostly concern the cinematography.
Like the original "CSI," this is a
Jerry Bruckheimer production and it
shows. The opening plane crash
scene looks good enough to have
come out of "Behind Enemy Lines"
or "Pearl Harbor," and the show is
fast-paced and intense. While the
special effects are generally impres-
sive, at times the show becomes
dumbed down because of their use.
For example, whenever an investiga-
tor finds a piece of evidence, it is
magnified and the shot is held for a
second to emphasize its relevance to
the case. This patronization can be a
little bit insulting, and makes "CSI:
Miami" seem a little too much like
"Blue's Clues" for its own good.
This is a great-looking show, and
will probably appeal to most avid fans
of crime drama. Assuming that more
chemistry will develop between the
characters and that the writing will
get more intelligent and less ridicu-
lous, "CSI: Miami" has a lot of poten-
tial. But generally speaking, isn't the
whole crime drama ripoff/spinoff
game getting a little bit old?

recreates the days of felony Melanie,
and offends all of her country bump-
kin chums before she realizes what
home used to be like. Everything
hits her with a dose of modesty as
she loses her yuppie, snobby edge
and becomes willingly re-appropri-
ated. Problems arise when her pack-
age of lies that represented her life
in New York surface in Alabama,
where the charade continues. Her
actions come full-circle, as she must
decide whether to take
action on her new feel-
ings for Jake, whom
she fell in love with as
HOME a 10-year-old.
AMA This film is a pleas-
ant surprise of a light-
case and hearted comedy.
y 16 Enjoyable jokes and
memorable characters.
tone make the film one
worth sitting through
on a weekend date night. Wither-
spoon is gorgeous with her southern
accent, and her performance is
exceptional. Josh Lucas is funny and
has a classic down home style akin
to Matthew McConaughey. Even the
supporting roles are pleasing as they
welcome everyone down for, a taste
of the Deep South. Fred Ward, as
Melanie's father, has some hilarious
scenes; Ethan Embry draws laughs
as an unconventional southern char-

acter; and Candice Bergen is always
funny in her sophisticated, high
society mode.
On the downside, however, the
North versus South undercurrent
sidetracks the romantic comedy
aspect of the story. The film repeated-
ly reminds viewers that history should
be remembered but does so in a tiring
fashion. Melanie is caught between
her life in New York and past in
Alabama, but everybody else fulfills
some stereotype of their respective
territory or profession, including a
gay fashion designer. Although these
do have their place in the film, direc-
tor Andy Tennant ("Ever After") over-
plays them to solicit laughter that
only hinders the story.
"Sweet Home Alabama" has little
to stand on besides its performances
and humor. Somewhere in the midst
of a good idea, the predictable story
is depleted with holes. Too much
screen. time is spent with Melanie
struggling inside, and not enough-
attention is given to the multitude of
complex characters and history
around her. Great potential could
have been reached, but Tennant and
the writers settle for a simple, mind-
less romantic comedy.
It might not be the best film of the
year, but the movie does leave view-
ers with both a lingering good feel-
ing and a smile.

Courtesy of Touchstone

Gosh she's hot.

The UM School of Music
2002 HALLOWEEN CONCERTS
Sunday, October 27
4:30 PM & 8:00 PM
at the Michigan Theatre
Due to Hill Auditorium's closure for renovations,
tickets for this year's Halloween Concerts will not
be sold by mail order. Tickets will go on sale in
person and by phone at the League Ticket Office
starting Tuesday, October 1, 2002. Tickets may be
purchased by cash, check, and major credit cards.
Limit 10 per customer.

AA Airport Service
FLAT rate to and from :Metro and all
other airports
CALL TODAY: 734-769-2645

Abbey Theater of Ireland
Special Performance for Students
Euripides' Medea
Featuring Fiona Shaw
Deborah Warner director
Wed 10/168 pm
Power Center

02/03 UMS Fall Season

What do Alissa Karg, Ricky
Wakabayashi, Scott Bowling,
Pat Banthe, Matthew LeDuc
and Scott Maki all have in
common? They alt won tickets
at LMS's Ding Day Raffle to
the Abbey Theater's special

Halloween Concert

Tickets on Sale

performance for students of
Euripides'Medea.
Miss the UMS Diag Day?
Miss the Half-Price Student
Wicket Sale?...
Don't worry.
Tickets for this special
xf performance go on sale to
UM students today at the

Tuesday, October 1, 2002
League Ticket Office
911 N. University
M-F 10am-6pm; Sat. 10am-1pm
734-764-2538

-

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