New in Town

1 out of 5 stars

Time Out says

1 out of 5 stars
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

Release date:
Friday February 27 2009
97 mins

Cast and crew

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