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SOUTHERN BELLES (director/writer: Paul S. Myers and Brennan Shroff; cinematographer: Eric Haase; editor: Katie Mcquerrey ; music: Neil Perry/P.T. Walkley; cast: Anna Faris (Belle Scott), Laura Breckenridge (Bell Granger), Justin Chambers (Rhett Butler), Frederick Weller (Tracy Hampton), Heather Goldenhersh (Margery), Judah Friedlander (Duane); Runtime: 90; MPAA Rating: NR; producers: Craig Cohen/Jennifer McNamara/Jon Right/Zack Sanders; Hart Shop Video; 2005)
“A goofy, dumb, grating lightweight comedy that’s crying out to be a TV sitcom.”

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

A goofy, dumb, grating lightweight comedy that’s crying out to be a TV sitcom. It bases its ideas on modern Southern life on all those lame phony films that reduce their characters to cartoon caricatures and for Southern history it goes to GWTW as its primary source. Its best one-liners have the heroine saying such things as “I’m as single as a one dollar bill” and “I quit, that rhymes with shit.” Co-writers-directors Paul S. Myers and Brennan Shroff try to both appeal and make nice fun of white Southern trailer-park types, which happens to be the target audience for the pic.

The simple-minded plot has Bell (Laura Breckenridge) and Belle (Anna Faris) as two cutie pies who have grown up together in the sleepy small-town of Johnson’s Mark, Georgia, which is over two hundred miles away from Atlanta, and are now sharing a trailer. The two sweet but not too bright chicks work at dead end jobs, Bell as barkeeper and Belle as a store clerk at Whitey’s discount department store. They decide one day to save their money and go to the more inspiring big city of Atlanta.

It seems like a good move since Belle has to put up working for an oafish floor manager named Duane (Judah Friedlander), while Bell is going out with the raunchy and obnoxious Tracy Hampton (Frederick Weller). Soon Belle quits her job and Bell breaks up with the redneck loudmouth Tracy. The surprise comes when Bell meets her knight in shining armor, deputy sheriff Rhett Butler (Justin Chambers), and Atlanta seems not to be what she wants any more.

The drama is about as harmless as a mosquito bite; the comedy is about as funny as slipping on a banana peel; the use of catchy names for the main characters is about as inspired as this film ever gets. The best thing I can say, is that it could have been a lot worse. REVIEWED ON 7/5/2006 GRADE: C

Dennis Schwartz: “Ozus’ World Movie Reviews”