November 01, 1999 12:00 PM

Melanie Griffith, Lucas Black

Surely millions would agree that Melanie Griffith is lucky to have landed Antonio Banderas for a husband. And perhaps just as many millions would say he got himself one fabulous bride. But teamed as director and star of Crazy in Alabama, they’re the couple from hell. The Spanish matinee idol’s debut behind the camera is a cross between Breakfast at Tiffany’s and To Kill a Mockingbird, which is something like bringing out the crystal service for a breakfast of eggs, ham and grits. Griffith, who really ought to consider dropping the baby-doll act, plays a free-spirited, eccentric Southerner in the tumultuous civil rights era. Lucille poisons her abusive husband, packs his severed head and hightails it out of Industry, Ala. She drives to Hollywood, her mind swimming with dreams of stardom. Peejoe (played by Black), the worshipful young nephew she leaves behind, witnesses the accidental killing of a black kid by the local sheriff (rocker Meat Loaf Aday) and joins the fight to integrate the town. The movie seesaws crazily: One second, Peejoe meets Martin Luther King Jr., the next, Aunt Lucille lands a guest spot on Bewitched. Meanwhile her husband’s head whispers taunts from inside a hatbox. (PG-13)

Bottom Line: Certifiable

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