New in Town just passing through

Tuesday, April 7th, 2009

Renee Zellweger in New in Town

Gazette File Photo

SHOULD'VE TAKEN IMODIUM. In New in Town, Renee Zellweger, as ditzy businesswoman Lucy, fails to impress or generate any chemistry with mismatched Ted (Harry Connick, Jr.).

New in Town
Directed by: Jonas Elmer
Starring: Renee Zellweger, Harry Connick, Jr.

2 stars

Though marketed as a romantic comedy, New in Town fails to provide much more than a chuckle. The relationship between Renee Zellweger and Harry Connick Jr. is lukewarm at best.

The film revolves around Lucy (Zellweger), an executive Miami businesswoman for Munck Foods, who is sent to smalltown Minnesota to oversee the work of one of the company’s production plants. Lucy must face unwelcoming employees and a snowy climate, but still manages to start a romance with Ted (Connick, Jr.), the town firefighter and local union representative.

While the plot seems to have potential for ensuing comedy, it relies too heavily on crass stereotypes to create laughs. Zellweger’s character is a blonde, tanned, high-heeled businesswoman who, with all of her intelligence " she is supposedly on the fast track to becoming the company’s vice president " doesn’t bring a coat to Minnesota in the middle of winter.

Contrast her uptight city girl persona against the portrayal of the rural Minnesotans as simple country folk, and more cringe-worthy moments emerge than comedic ones. A rare funny scene involves Zellweger trying to pee in a forest with a one-piece snowsuit and a shotgun.

Of course, amidst all of her adventures in the snowy wilderness, Lucy manages to fall for Ted, a scruffy, pick-up driving man. Their romance follows the typical format of many romantic comedies: girl meets boy, girl and boy can’t stand each other, girl and boy have heartfelt and revealing moment, girl and boy fall in love. Though this predictable pattern is to be expected in such a film, the pairing of Lucy and Ted is just not believable due to the lack of chemistry between Zellweger and Connick Jr. and the fact that their characters are such polar opposites.

Needless to say, New in Town has a happy ending. Lucy finds everything she wants and transforms from a materialistic city girl into a down-to-earth woman. For all of its predictability and overuse of stereotypes, New in Town is better left for DVD rental " or skipped altogether.

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