Tuesday, May 26, 2009

New in Town DVD

DVD Review by Kam Williams

Headline: Formulaic Zellweger and Connick Sitcom Finds Its Way to DVD

Lucy Hill (Rene Zellweger) is a high-powered, big-city businesswoman climbing the corporate ladder in Miami who agrees to relocate temporarily to rural Minnesota in order to oversee the restructuring of one of the company’s manufacturing plants. Upon arriving in snowbound New Ulm, she is initially oblivious to the fallout about to be visited upon the Christian community as a consequence of her planned downsizing.
Instead, she mostly focuses on trying to adjust to the frigid weather and on finding appropriate apparel to survive in the harsh environment in lieu of her totally inappropriate stiletto heels and designer clothes. Subsequently, it doesn’t take long for Lucy to make fast enemies of union rep Ted Mitchell (Harry Connick, Jr.) and factory foreman Stu Kopenhafer (J.K. Simmons), even if the former is both handsome and available.
This is the setup for the magical transformation which eventually transpires in New in Town, a transparent fish-out-of-water romantic comedy which marks the English-language debut of Danish director Jonas Elmer. One would think that Oscar-winner Zellweger could have pulled on Jonas’ jacket sleeve to let him know that the picture’s basic premise wouldn’t work with an American audience.
For, taking a page out of Fargo, the film first goes out of its way to paint the local yokels as being a bunch of colorful but backward hicks. Yet, lo and behold, Lucy is charmed by their naïve innocence rather than see it as a weakness to be exploited just as anyone with her training and taste obviously would. Predictably, as the heart of this spoiled, self-absorbed overachiever starts to melt, she turns a new leaf, falls for the blue-collared hunk and decides to settle down in town to live there happily-ever-after.
Yeah, right. It’s fun to pretend.

Fair (1 star)
Rated PG for mild epithets and suggestive material.
Running time: 97 minutes
Studio: Lionsgate Home Entertainment
DVD Extras: Deleted scenes, audio commentary with cast and crew, “The Making of” documentary and a couple of other featurettes.

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