Friday 7 October 2022

Movie Review: New In Town (2009)

A tedious romantic comedy, New In Town scours tired fish-out-of-water ideas and comes up empty.

Miami-based food company executive Lucy Hill (Renée Zellweger) is dispatched to rural New Ulm, Minnesota, to oversee cost-cutting and automation at a food packaging plant. She finds it hard to acclimatize to the frosty weather and the country folk, although well-meaning local assistant Blanche Gunderson (Siobhan Fallon Hogan) tries to help her new boss feel welcome.

Lucy clashes with plant superintendent Stu (J.K. Simmons), and manages to insult widowed union representative Ted (Harry Connick Jr.). But gradually she warms up to the simpler and more genuine way of life, and a romance blossoms with Ted. When the corporate honchos decide to shut down the plant, Lucy has to find a way to fulfil her career ambitions without losing her new friends.

Yet again recycling the exhausted premise of a big-city career woman caught in the hinterlands, New In Town does not seem to even be trying. Director Jonas Elmer tries to extract laughs from inane situations, such as a high powered executive like Lucy demonstrating utter cluelessness by failing to plan for the weather at her travel destination, and walking through a processing plant in high heels. Local culture is packaged into stereotypes of accents and nosiness, quirky habits like scrapbooking, long-running arguments about tapioca recipes, and bringing Jesus into every conversation.

Of course Lucy and Ted start off on two wrong feet, he becomes her knight in shining pick-up truck, she helps with his daughter's prom night, but only after shooting him in the rear-end during a hunting trip. Some chuckles can be found within the dross, and the trio of Zellweger, Carrick Jr., and Simmons struggle gallantly against the feeble material. But ultimately, any comedy extracting buckshot out of bums is close to the bottom.

All Ace Black Movie Blog reviews are here.

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