MOVIES: Wishing on a Couple of Stars

In two new films, Reese Witherspoon and Jake Gyllenhaal get in line to be the Next Big Thing

You might not realize it in a media environment that's ravenous for teen celebrities, but Hollywood is a little short on young stars these days. Tom and Julia have been up there for ages; Vin Diesel and The Rock are not so much human beings as Soviet-era statuary. Yes, there are gifted, charismatic actors out there waiting to take over, but they don't always get the movies to match their talents.

Reese Witherspoon, 26, was a critics' darling (especially in Election) before she earned fame last year in Legally Blonde. Superficially, Sweet Home Alabama is a similar fish-out-of-water scenario. Blonde...

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