Rated PG-13 for brief strong language, 96 minutes
Fun, crowd-pleasing "New in Town" all fluff
"New in Town" is nothing new. The fish-out-of-water premise is as old as movies themselves, and is often a reliable though predictable premise. "New in Town" provides some hearty crowd-pleasing laughs and is a fun, though thin movie that appeals to the masses. Stars Renee Zellweger and Harry Connick Jr. share a warm chemistry though it's no surprise as to the outcome of their relationship (or the movie itself, for that matter).
Zellweger plays Miami, Florida manufacturing executive Lucy Hill, who's transferred to a small town in Minnesota to oversee a food processing plant. Though she experiences a rather frosty reception from the locals, she starts to warm up to a few, including Ted (Connick), who also happens to be the local union representative. She has to rouse support from the townspeople and her co-workers when her company threatens to completely shut down the plant and leave hundreds unemployed.
"New in Town" is a pleasing piece of fluffery that's easily accessible and suitable for the masses. The script and story are altogether predictable, even derivative at times, but still there are some fun moments, such as when Zellweger gets stuck in her car in a snowstorm, gets stuck in a hunting suit or suddenly realizes when a part of her anatomy gets too cold. The Minnesotians, while friendly, are played in the film as too stereotypical, laced with heavy "Fargo"-esque accents and peculiar habits.
"New in Town's" most memorable moments come from sturdy, familiar character actress Siobhan Fallon, who colorfully plays Lucy's assistant, friend, and who knows a little about scrapbooking and tapioca pudding. She gives the film heart, color and some funny dialogue exchanges. She asks Lucy "Have you found Jesus?" to which Lucy replies "I didn't know Jesus went missing."
The last act and the climax resolves everything too neatly and happily, and while the premise is hardly new, "New in Town" has enough charming, colorful moments to carry it along. It's a perfect date movie though you may not remember much after the credits roll.