New in Town

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New in Town
You’ll find no ill will directed towards Renée Zellweger here: she subscribes to a definition of leading-ladydom that dates back to screwball queen Carole Lombard. You can’t imagine Angelina Jolie doing face-plants in the snow, but Zellweger pitches herself gamely. She wriggles around in too-tight outfits and somehow makes her legs stretch a million miles.

But ‘New in Town’ raises serious alarms. A shockingly banal script lends the movie a generic awfulness; you wish Zellweger were in better hands. Foolish mistakes overwhelm in the first 20 minutes alone: would high-powered Miami executive Lucy Hill (Zellweger) seriously arrive in wintry Minnesota wearing heels and no sweater? She’s come to the small town of New Ulm – already introduced in a cringeworthy scene of ‘Fargo’-like accent abuse – to make deep personnel cuts at a corporate-owned factory. But the beer-swilling local union rep, Ted (Harry Connick Jr), might have something to say about that. Also, he’s a widower.

These are the conventions of romantic comedy. But must they be doled out so strenuously and with zero irony? Lucy comes to smile at the town’s religiosity; she performs a heroic makeover on Ted’s teenage daughter and proves herself scrappy when her board insists on rough tactics. But as a fantasy of economic salvation, this feels especially phony. Jokes about layoffs just aren’t going to wring many laughs these days.

By: Joshua Rothkopf


Release details

Rated: 12A
Release date: Friday February 27 2009
Duration: 97 mins

Cast and crew

Director: Jonas Elmer
Screenwriter: Ken Rance, C Jay Cox
Cast: Siobhan Fallon
Harry Connick Jr
Renée Zellweger
Frances Conroy
Mike O'Brien
JK Simmons

Average User Rating

3.8 / 5

Rating Breakdown

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Having read the dire reviews I had avoided this film for some time. However it's not as bad as the reviews would suggest. The Minnesota location makes a change from New York or California, and Renee Zellweger is always worth watching. However, the script is derivative and predictable . . . so this film falls way short of what was achieved in The Proposal which was more successful on the `city girl falls for country boy` theme,. Of course, if you're comparing this with `Fargo`, you're going to be disappointed . .. . Not a total disaster, but disappointing nonetheless.

Painful is the word. First of all, the dialect coach should be put up against the wall. What were the instructions? All you have to do to speak Minnesotan is talk from the front of your mouth and throw in a 'Ya sure' every now and then? It's Dick van Dyke (cockney accent in Mary Poppins) goes to Minnesota. Fargo was a bit over the top but at least efforts were made to make it sound authentic. The vacuous and far-fetched plots and dialogue isn't worth mentioning... This is definitely a finalist in my worst films ever category.

A laugh-free 97 minutes. Clunking, derivative and inept. Poor Zellweger looked ancient, Connick Junior's character was just shy of psychopathic. Her mid-film conversion was handled clumsily. The Fargo-esque accents were just embarrassing. New In Town? Get out of town!

The first ten minutes or so were pretty awful, but stick with it because it does get better. The plot is utterly predictable and the film runs like a series of episodes rather than a coherent whole, but it's saved by pleasing performances and a moderately funny script. Hell, it ain't trying to be Citizen Kane. A nice little movie.

Saw this last night and laughed the whole way through. It's a lovely, funny movie. Don't think too hard about it, of course it's improbable, just sit back and ENJOY!!