"New in Town": A DVD Movie Review

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I love romantic comedies. That is probably because I’m a die hard romantic at heart. While I admit that I’m partial to old Doris Day or Sandra Dee romantic comedies, I’ve found a few contemporary actresses I enjoy as well.

One of my current favorites is Rene Zellwegger. While I don’t like all of her movies, I enjoy some of them tremendously. Either way, I never miss out on a chance to see a new film in which she stars.

“New in Town” is Rene’s latest romantic comedy and the role of its heroine is a perfect fit for her. She plays Lucy Hill, a woman on the fast track within a large food conglomerate.

People listen to her and value what she has to say. She is the “go to” girl. Therefore, when the company decides to downsize and reorganize one of their Minnesota plants, Lucy is the girl they choose to do the job.

Strictly a hot weather girl, Lucy is shocked to discover just how cold it actually gets in Minnesota. But that isn’t all. She also has a difficult time adjusting to the down home, friendly people of the small town where the plant is located.

Of course not all the citizens are happy to have her at the plant. They know that her presence spells trouble and they suspect that many of them will lose their jobs.

The union representative, Ted Mitchell (played by Harry Connick, Jr., meets Lucy under strange circumstances and the first impression for both of them isn’t good. It gets only worse as they begin to negotiate.

The plant manager, Stu Kopenhafer (played by veteran actor J.K. Simmons) plays a lot of practical jokes on Lucky and finally manages to get himself fired. That puts Lucy in bad stead with almost everyone in town, except her assistant Blanche Gunderson (played by Siobhan Fallon).

Blanche takes to Lucy right away and does everything she can to support her. Eventually Lucy’s closed heart breaks open to accept not only Blanche but also Ted and many other people. That, of course, becomes a problem since she was sent there to basically decimate the entire town.

Will Lucy downsize the plant? Will she close it altogether? Or does she have something else in mind? Those are questions you will only get answered if you rent the DVD.

Zellwegger is always a sympathetic heroine. She seems “real” and many fans can identify with her. She is particularly endearing in the role of Lucy because she is also a fish out of water. The audience finds itself rooting for her to become something more than a corporate robot.

Connick is an amiable enough romantic hero. I’ve seen him play the part much better than he did here; however, he’s probably tired of playing the same type of role over and over and over again. He seems to have become typecast in that role and that eventually spells lack of interest.

Simmons is hysterical as Lucy’s plant manager. Who knew he could be so funny? He generally plays tough, dramatic roles with lots of authority and realism. But here he is just good old-fashioned fun.

Fallon is fun as Lucy’s assistant. She plays the role with a lot of heart and keeps her line delivery a bit tongue in cheek, which only adds to the character.

The screenplay penned by Ken Rance and C. Jay Cox might not be particularly original, but it is funny, heart warming, delightful, and of course, romantic. It serves its purpose and it serves it well.

Director Jonas Elmer seemed to have a good time with this film. Everything is played a bit stereotypical, but never in a demeaning or rude way. Instead, it just makes for great humor, charm, and fun.

I liked this movie. Most critics didn’t. I suspect that has more to do with its lack of political or sociological relevance than anything else.

I’ve noticed that a lot of film critics don’t care for light hearted, good-humored films with a focus on love. Perhaps they simply no longer believe in the concept themselves and don’t want anyone else to believe either.

It is definitely their loss. Sometimes, it is just good to sit down and have a pleasant moment of escapism that doesn’t involve violence, sex, politics, or any of the other subjects they deem suitable movie fare.

I give this film three out of five stars. It isn’t perfect but it is a whole lot of fun.


0 = A stinker. Don’t waste the money!

1 = Bad. Rent it at your own risk.

2 = Below average. See only if you have time to kill.

2.5 = Average. A toss up.

3 = Good. Worth a looksee.

3.5 = Very Good. I recommend it.

4 = Excellent. Don’t miss it!

4.5 = Outstanding. What are you waiting for?

5 = Destined to become a classic. You will be sorry if you don’t see it.





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