New In Town

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The ViewAuckland Review

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Review byMatthew Turner27/02/2009

Three out of Five stars
Running time: 97 mins

Utterly predictable comedy-drama that stays watchable thanks to a likeable cast and some decent dialogue, even if the Zellweger / Connick Jr pairing doesn't exactly set the screen alight.

What's it all about?
Renee Zellweger stars as Lucy Hill, a high-flying Miami career woman who accepts an assignment in smalltown Minnesota, hoping that it will boost her chances of becoming vice president. She's tasked with restructuring a food manufacturing plant, but quickly clashes with both plant foreman Stu Kopenhafer (J. K. Simmons) and local union leader Ted Mitchell (Harry Connick Jr).

Meanwhile, Lucy struggles to adjust to both smalltown life, the freezing temperatures and the various quirks of the New Ulm locals, not least her secretary and assistant Blanche Gunderson (Siobhan Fallon Hogan) and the landlady and local busybody Trudy Van Uuden (Frances Conroy). And as if that wasn't bad enough, she finds herself falling for Ted, despite her better judgment.

The Good
Zellweger is fine as Lucy, displaying some nice comic timing and a hitherto unsuspected gift for pratfalling - her falling-over-drunk moment is up there with Sandra Bullock's best. There's also strong support from Siobhan Fallon Hogan (who basically channels a stupider version of Frances McDormand's Marge from Fargo) and J. K. Simmons, who, weirdly, gained 35 pounds to play Stu, instead of opting for a fat suit.

The Bad
The main problem is that the film is utterly predictable from start to finish (you'll see Lucy's solution coming a mile away), though it does still manage to push a couple of emotional buttons. Similarly, it's hard to think of a less attractive couple than puffy-faced Zellweger and creepy-bearded Harry Connick Jr (there's a crowd scene where he looks positively demonic), so you don't really care if they get together or not.

In addition, several of the jokes fall flat and you only really get to know a handful of the townsfolk, which rather spoils the smalltown atmosphere the film is aiming for.

Worth seeing?
New In Town is undemanding, by-the-numbers stuff, but it's never less than watchable, if you're in the mood for a bog-standard romcom.

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Content updated: 15/12/2019 21:38

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