New In Town

MPAA Rating: PG

Entertainment: +3

Content: +1/2

Renee Zellweger, Harry Connick, Jr., Siobhan Fallon Hogan, J. K. Simmons. Comedy. Written by Ken Rance, C Jay Cox. Directed by Jonas Elmer.

FILM SYNOPSIS: An ambitious Miami businesswoman is transferred to rural Minnesota, a real-life town named New Ulm, and while she is there she re-evaluates her big-city values. She’s there to cut jobs. But after adjusting to Midwestern sensibilities (not to mention the unearthly cold of a Minnesota winter), and a few comic situations, Lucy Hill (Zellweger) discovers greater meaning in life, as well as the hunk of her dreams.

PREVIEW REVIEW: Most romantic comedies of late have been nothing more than bits of fluff. But like the Colonel has something extra in his secret herbs and spices, writers Ken Rance (a fellow Believer) and C Jay Cox have added some dimension to this likable look at an odd couple falling in love.

First, unaware and unsympathetic to the lives they are about to change, we see a callous conglomerate about to close a plant. The film reminds us that with a few financial sacrifices, big business could prosper by rallying behind loyal employees.

Next there’s a look at the cavern between the Big City life and Mid-America. The film has fun with the simplicity and speech patterns of rural life, but then highlights the sturdiness of character often found in America’s heartland.

Added to these elements, the writers don’t flinch at showing the spiritual core of those who freely bring Jesus into daily conversation. For the people spotlighted here, Jesus is not a name used to relieve frustration.

And lastly, the producers have done well with their casting. There’s a nice chemistry between the two leads and Siobhan Fallon Hogan (Baby Mama, Funny Games), as Zellweger’s quirky but sincere secretary/liaison, is both funny and real, doing a rendition of Frances McDormand from Fargo.

Though it lacks the sophistication of, say, the Tracy/Hepburn comedy Woman of the Year, New In Town is droll and delightful. The year’s first big surprise for critics expecting studio hand-me-downs from 2008.

Please read the content before deciding to support this film. And just for the fun of it, rent Woman of the Year. This superb Hepburn/Tracy pairing has Katherine as a political commentator attempting to maintain a career and a marriage with sportswriter Spencer. Witty dialogue and charismatic first-time teaming of its stars, with two very funny sequences: one with Ms. Hepburn learning the game of baseball and another where she, unfamiliar with kitchen activities, tries to make breakfast for her husband.

Preview Reviewer: Phil Boatwright

The following categories contain objective listings of film content which contribute to the subjective numeric Content ratings posted to the left and on the Home page.

Crude Language: One visual joke has the female lead unaware of the effect the cold weather is having on her thinly clad upper body.

Obscene Language: Six or so expletives

Profanity: None

Violence: A car wreck, played for laughs, a couple of gentle, slapstick pratfalls; a hunting accident has the male lead wounded in the bottom by shotgun pellets.

Sex: The two leads are necking on the couch, until his daughter comes home from her first date, catching the two off guard.

Nudity: None

Sexual Dialogue/Gesture: None

Drugs: Some social drinking as the male lead and buddies drink beer; wine is served with dinner; the lead, caught in a dangerous snowstorm, gets drunk on a bottle of whisky, thinking it will help her survive; later she is told that is a dangerous practice when stuck in snow.

Other: The film has a positive statement about a relationship with Jesus and the townsfolk celebrate Christmas by caroling together around a huge outdoor lighted tree.

Running Time: 90 minutes
Intended Audience: Teens and older

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