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· 97 minutes
Directed by Jonas Elmer
Written by Ken Rance, C. Jay Cox
· Renee Zellweger
· Harry Connick Jr
· J.K Simmons
I find as I grow in the job of film critic I am getting a little softer. I am growing more tolerant of some things and less tolerant of others. In my fiery early years I likely would have torched a little movie like New In Town simply because I could. I wouldn't have done it merely for sport, I would have had good solid reasons for torching it.
I have a number of good reasons to torch the film right now. But I am not going to. With experience I like to think comes wisdom and my newfound wisdom tells me that I would have been far too hard on this harmless forgettable little formula romance. Trashing New In Town for being a formula rom-com would be like squashing a bug with a rocket launcher.
Cute as a button Renee Zellweger stars in New In Town as Lucy your prototypical fish out of water. The water here being New Ulm Minnesota, a frozen corner of the world that is none to welcoming to a gal born and bred in Miami. Lucy has come to New Ulm to take management of a local food producing plant and fire half the staff.
If you can't guess that the hard hearted city gal falls for the small town charmers like Siohban Fallon's Blanche Gunderson or J.K Simmons as the crotchety plant manager, you just aren't trying. Throw in Harry Connick Jr. as the obligatory love interest and you can really say you've seen the movie just from knowing the cast.
Nothing in New In Town breaks the mold of your typical rom-com. This is where I would have started lobbing bombs in years past but not this time. Sure, I knew every step of this movie before walking in the door of the theater, what that tells me is that this is a movie that is not about the journey to a pre-determined end but about how we get to that end.
The getting there in New In Town involves Renee Zellweger being cute as button with charm to spare. It's about a supporting cast that plays the quirks of Minnesota as if they actually live there and it's about how the film consistently put a smile on my face even as I occasionally let my mind drift to other things like the Stimulus package and what to do with Guantanamo Bay.
It's likely that you will have forgotten about New In Town by the time you reach the parking lot after seeing it. But, while you are watching it you smile, you laugh genuinely a few times and the movie never offends you with low brow humor, stupidity or overly obvious plot contrivance.
New In Town is a dumb fairy tale romance that aspires to be nothing more than a minor distraction. How can I trash a film for accomplishing exactly what it set out to accomplish? This review may not be enough to encourage you to see New In Town but I am not here to discourage you. The film will earn ever dollar it gets this weekend.