She's an Executive on the Move. But Her Career is Taking Her a Little Farther Than She Expected.
"Bridget Jones moves to Fargo. KATV-ABC
|A miami businesswoman adjusts to her new life in a tiny minnesota town.|
"A romantic comedy for everyone... KPIX-SF
"Harry Connick, Jr. will melt your heart and win you over... Maria Salas, Terra TV
"The first genuinely funny movie of 2009. Roger Moore, Orlando Sentinel
"A sleeper hit - great cast led by terrific chemistry between Renee Zellweger and Harry Connick, Jr. TV-29 NY
Renee Zellweger stars opposite Harry Connick Jr. in this snow-packed romantic comedy. NEW IN TOWN begins in Miami, home to Lucy Hill (Zellweger), a single, high-powered executive on the fast track to being a CEO. With her spiked heels, plush bachelorette pad, and fierce collection of power suits, Lucy is unprepared when her boss sends her to snowy Minnesota to work on-site at one of the company's factories. Reluctantly leaving her sunny home, Lucy lands in New Ulm, a small town distinguished by a thick Midwestern accent, a strong work ethic, and an appropriately skeptical attitude toward big-city newcomers like Lucy, who finds herself in a brutal battle against several factory workers, a nosy assistant (Siobhan Fallon), and a stubborn union rep (Connick) who, as fate would have it, just happens to be a love interest as well. | |Zellweger appears a bit wooden at the start of the film but eases into her role as the film progresses. As her character grows more comfortable in her own skin and develops some empathy towards her new neighbors, we see Zellweger's familiar charm emerge. Much of the film's humor comes at the expense of Minnesotans, but the cast delivers the jokes in good fun. Director Jonas Elmer captures some chemistry between his two leads, though the film doesn't rely too heavily on this romance. Instead, it explores the differences in small- versus big-town life, exposing the unique, homey appeal of the former. By focusing on the people working behind the scenes, NEW IN TOWN celebrates a way of American life that is rarely the focus of Hollywood romantic comedies.
Cast & Crew
Chicago Sun-Times 6 of 10
Lucy is the cute-as-a-button Renee Zellweger, so we know she's only kidding when she pretends to be a heartless (rhymes-with-witch) who hammers around on her stiletto heels and won't smile. That doesn't scare Blanche (Siobhan Fallon Hogan), Lucy's assistant, who invites her home for dinner ("We're only havin' meat loaf"). So uncannily does her accent resemble Marge in "Fargo" that I was trying to remember where I had heard it recently, doncha know?...The extra man at Blanche's table turns out to be Ted Mitchell (Harry Connick Jr.), the widowed dad of a 13-year-old girl, who Blanche obviously thinks would be a great match for Lucy...Because this is a rom-com with no ambition in the direction of originality, Lucy is single, and Ted is the only eligible unmarried man in the cast, so do the math. The only remaining question is whether Lucy can save the plant, if you consider that much of a question. Am I giving too much away? This is the kind of movie that gives itself away. I've used that line before...The real question is, do you like this sort of rom-com? It's a fair example of its type, not good, but competent. The plant workers seem to function like the chorus in an opera, shutting down the line for Lucy's arias from a catwalk, and moving as a unit, with foreman Stu Kopenhafer (J.K. Simmons) always in the front. Simmons has grown a bushy beard and is wearing a fat suit (I hope), so you may not recognize him as Juno's dad. Let the bushy beard be a lesson: A bushy beard is the enemy of an actor's face unless he is playing Santa or attacking with a chain saw...The only question remaining after "New in Town" is: How come there's never a movie where a small-town girl leaves the snarly, greedy, job-ladder-climbing people behind and moves to the big city, where she is embraced by friendly folks, fed meat loaf and tapioca, and fixed up with Harry Connick Jr.?
- Roger Ebert
Salon.com 5 of 10
The romantic comedy "New in Town," in which Renee Zellweger plays a female executive who's transferred from the big city to small-town Minnesota, opens with a scrapbooking scene. That's right: a group of women sit at a table pasting photographs and little bits of colored paper into elaborately decorated bound volumes. Exceedingly sensitive viewers, as well as recent patients of open-heart surgery, are advised to avoid "New in Town," as the excitement may just be too much...On second thought, maybe just about everyone should stay away from this drearily cheerful little picture that isn't nearly as funny or as heartwarming -- or even as topical, given the economic climate -- as it thinks it is..."New in Town" wouldn't be so bad if it didn't wield its folksiness like a club. The director (Danish filmmaker Jonas Elmer, making his English-language feature debut) and the screenwriters (Kenneth Rance and C. Jay Cox) work so hard to make the locals country-cute that they forget to flesh them out as people...The leads don't seem particularly at home in these aggressively homey surroundings, either. Zellweger is capable of being both a charming actress and a disarming one -- just not here...And Connick, a likable and underrated actor, is better than the material warrants. He has a slightly goofy quality that dissolves some of the idiotic machismo the script has stuck him with...But together, Zellweger and Connick appear to be just getting the job done -- there's a jocular affinity between their characters, but not much spark. Meanwhile, the locals, dressed in their floral embroidered sweat shirts and plaid flannel, beam approvingly at the couple before returning to their bar stools and their baking. You could say "New in Town" is poking fun, affectionately, at stereotypes...And it probably is the first movie to use scrapbooking as a dramatic device. Let's also hope it's the last.
- Stephanie Zacharek