Thursday, January 30, 2014

New in Town (2009) [PG] ***-

Lucy Hill (Renée Zellweger) is an ambitious young executive for Munck Foods. She loves her upscale Miami, Florida lifestyle including her Jaguar convertible. But, when she has an opportunity to supervise the transformation of the New Ulm, Minnesota processing plant to manufacture the company's new Rocket Bar, she volunteers for the assignment.

When Lucy arrives in New Ulm in early November, she soon begins to understand what freezing Minnesota winters are like, with icy roads and hypothermia. And she quickly gets a taste of New Ulm culture when her secretary Blanche (Siobhan Fallon Hogan) invites her home for a meatloaf dinner, and introduces her to the ruggedly handsome but coarse Ted Mitchell (Harry Connick Jr.).

Of course Lucy and Ted begin fighting over their cultural differences, and it's only the following morning at work that Lucy discovers Ted is also the plant's union representative. Lucy and Ted eventually do warm up to each other, but when the new Rocket Bar fails its test market, and Lucy is at first told to lay off half the New Ulm plant employees, and later to close the plant entirely, a move that will put the entire town out of work, she begins to sympathize with the workers' plight, and soon finds herself reevaluating her personal and professional goals, and trying to find a way to save the plant and the town.

Co-written by C. Jay Cox (Sweet Home Alabama) and Ken Rance, a native of Minnesota, there is nothing original about this fish-out-of-water romantic comedy. The script features juvenile comedy about small-town Minnesota culture, minimal romantic chemistry between Zellweger and Connick, lackluster direction and a non-existent musical score. Filmed in Winnipeg and Selkirk, Canada, and in Los Angeles and Miami, the film feels a bit like Hope Floats set in Fargo-land. Only forgiving fans of Zellweger and Connick, as well as those who enjoyed Sweet Home Alabama, need bother with this one; others will regret the loss of ninety minutes of your lives. 

Labels: comedy, romance  
Internet Movie Database    
Metacritic 29/100  
RottenTomatoes Averages (critics=43, viewers=60)  

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