A woman's best friend, who comes from a different social class, shows her how to fight off greedy in-laws and how to live life to the fullest. Alfre Woodard plays the lead character of Alice Pratt who owns a diner. Her good friend is Charlotte Cartwright (played by Kathy Bates) who is very wealthy. The Cartwright family owns one of the largest construction firms in Georgia, headquartered in Atlanta. Charlotte's son William (played by Cole Hauser) runs the company. Because William eloped with his wife Jillian (played by KaDee Strickland) Charlotte was not able to have the big wedding party for him. This is why Charlotte is so happy to preside over a big southern-style wedding for Alice's daughter Andrea (played by Sanaa Lathan). Andrea marries Chris Bennett (played by Rockmond Dunbar).
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Andrea gets a job working with William at the Cartwright Construction Firm making big money. Andrea also has an affair with William, which is why she makes so much money. Her sister Pam (played by Taraji P. Henson) marries Ben (played by Tyler Perry). Pam works hard at Alice's diner with her mother and baby-sits Andrea's kids. Andrea does little to help her mom, even though she has plenty of money, which makes Pam upset. Chris and Ben want to start a construction firm. Andrea thinks this is a stupid idea. Chris tries to get a loan from the bank which the bank declines. He finds out his wife has an account with over three hundred thousand dollars in it, which she never told him about. When Chris confronts her about the money, she tells him she got it from William as work bonuses and she refuses to let him have any of it.
William secretly plots to take over the company from his mother's control. The company needs twenty five million dollars upfront to win a deal worth over five hundred million. The only way to raise the money is if Charlotte sells some of her ownership. Charlotte hires a new Chief Operating Officer named Abby (played by Robin Givens) to give her advice. William tells Abby even if Charlotte sells some of her shares, his vote with hers would still be a majority. Because of this Abby recommends Charlotte go ahead with the sale of shares to raise the money for the bigger deal.
Alice and Charlotte go on a road trip together in a baby blue Cadillac to live it up a little. Charlotte takes Alice to bars and clubs with male strippers. Alice takes Charlotte to be baptized to be born again. Alice discovers Charlotte fumbling with her camera late at night in a confused state. Charlotte tells her she has Alzheimer's and she will soon lose all her memory. They return to Atlanta. At the construction company, Abby the new COO and Jillian find out about the affair going on between William and Andrea. Chris and Ben are fired by William because they are seeking investment money to start their own construction business. Andrea is fired by Abby and at the same time warned by Jillian to stay away from her husband. Chris takes Andrea's secret money to start his new construction business without asking her permission. Andrea gets furious. She tells Chris she is having an affair with William and she is going to be with him. She wants Chris to leave. Chris is surprised she wants a divorce and worries how it will affect their child. Andrea tells Chris he is not the father. She says William is the father of the boy.
To get even with her husband for cheating on her, Jillian tells Charlotte about William's secret plan to wrest control of the company from Charlotte. At an emergency board meeting, called by Charlotte, she fires her son because she has the proxy for enough votes to still control the majority of the company. The votes comes from an investor called Calvary Company, which to everyone's surprise is owned by Alice. Alice has been investing in the Cartwright firm for many years, slowly accumulating a position of substance based on the advice of Nick Blanchett (played by Sebastien Siegel) who is a customer of the diner. Many years ago, William fired Nick from the Cartwright firm without a good reason. Just afterwards, Nick's wife died. Nick lost his kids, and he became homeless. By helping Alice build up an ownership stake in the Cartwright company over so many years, Nick finally gets even when William is fired. William runs into Andrea in the parking lot. Andrea does not know William was fired. She thinks William will divorce Jillian, marry her, and help her take care of their son. To her shock, William tells her their relationship is finished and he leaves her abandoned in the parking lot as he drives off.
Charlotte commits suicide rather than succumb to the slow death of Alzheimer's. Chris divorces Andrea. Andrea moves into a tiny apartment with the child. Chris and Ben succeed in their new construction business and become wealthy leaving Andrea to suffer being poor. Nick has enough money from the good investments to buy his own house and get off the street. Alice sells her diner and goes on another road trip in the baby blue Cadillac left to her by Charlotte, remembering Charlotte's advice to live life fully, not just plod along only existing.
Best part of story, including ending:
I like this story because the two-timing gold-digger Andrea ends up broke, a single-mother, and unwanted at the end. She gets what she deserved.
Best scene in story:
It is a touching scene when Alice learns her best friend Charlotte has Alzheimer's from how she fumbles with a camera.
Opinion about the main character:
Alice is a super strong woman with a good set of values who learns also how to enjoy life a little. Even though she loses her best friend, the life lesson she receives from her, is heart-warming.