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New In Town movie poster

New In Town

Genre: Comedy, Romance
Rated: PG-13
Directed by:
Jonas Elmer
Starring: Renée Zellweger, Harry Connick Jr., Siobhan Fallon, J.K. Simmons, Feron Guerreiro, Frances Conroy

Released by: Lionsgate Entertainment

In Short: This fish-out-of-water romantic comedy does not break any new cinematic ground; nevertheless, it is a funny and enjoyable ride with two appealing leading players and a great supporting cast of characters.
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Funny Frozen Fluff
Renée and Harry Deliver the Romantic Goods

At this time of year, it is often painful to go to the movies. January is the traditional dumping ground for awful movies that the studios don't think anyone is going to shovel out of their driveways to go and see, which is why New in Town is such a pleasant surprise. A funny and extremely enjoyable romantic comedy set in the frozen north of Minnesota, the movie is a breath of fresh—albeit chilly—air in an otherwise stagnant time of year.

Renée Zellweger stars as Lucy Hill, a Miami businesswoman who takes over a manufacturing plant in a small Minnesotan town, with the intention of making sweeping changes and instituting massive layoffs. It's a storyline that couldn’t be timelier in this recession-riddled season and plays out in a very satisfying way, as this fish-out-of-water boss discovers the joys of small-town life, despite the wintry elements that almost send her screaming back to sunny Miami.

Harry Connick Jr. and Renée Zellweger in New in Town Siobhan Fallon and J.K. Simmons in New in Town

One of those joys is Harry Connick, Jr., whose likable cinematic persona is put to good use in his role as Ted Mitchell, a widower with a teenage daughter. He's also the union rep at the factory, which leads to some tough run-ins with the new boss. But as the movie progresses, he and Lucy slowly begin to see the possibilities in each other. It's a romance that is both believable and heartwarming, so much so that members of the audience actually cheered when they finally had their first kiss.

The two leads certainly make New in Town a fun ride, but it is really the stellar group of small-town Minnesotans (led by accomplished actors Siobhan Fallon, J. K. Simmons, and Frances Conroy) that make this such a good movie. Their funny foibles, distinct accents, and snappy dialogue turn what could have been a mundane girl-meets-boy story into a film that is definitely worth a trip to the multiplex in the midst of the January doldrums.

Reviewed by Jenny Peters

PSB010809 (Updated 01/30/09 DN)

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