Guest Author - Jamise Grace Liddell
Movie Reviewed: New In Town
Directed By: Jonas Elmer
Starring: Renee Zellweger ("Lucy Hill"), Harry Connick, Jr. ("Ted Mitchell"), Siobhan Fallon ("Blanche Gunderson"), J.K. Simmons ("Stu Anderson") Frances Conroy ("Trudy Van Uuden")
Runtime: 96 min
Studio: Edmonds Entertainment Group (EEG)
Big corporations closing production plants, laying off workers with no job alternatives in small town U.S.A.? Sounds more like a newsreel than a movie plot, but wait there’s more! Take a hungry female corporate climber, eager to take on the tough jobs to rise to the top and that sounds a bit like real life. And such is the setting for the latest family film which upholds family, unity and traditional spiritual values.
Lucy Hill (Zellweger) is a corporate climber who accepts an assignment to leave the comfort of Miami to adjust manufacturing operations in small town Minnesota. Not only is Hill not prepared for the weather, but she is not prepared for the ‘down home’ interactions from the plant staff. Blanche Gunderson (Fallon-Hogan), serves as Hill’s main support staff. Gunderson treats Hill to family dinners and sincere thoughtfulness such as home made valentine’s cards and tapioca pudding as a house warming gift and unrequested spiritual guidance.
Hall’s manufacturing visit takes place during the Christmas and New Year’s holiday. And within minutes of meeting Hill, Gunderson asks in a dead on Minnesota accent, “So have you found Jesus?” Lucy Hill pause in exasperated thoughtfulness, and then responds, “Well I didn’t realize he was missing!” It is one of many laugh out loud moments in the film.
Hill is introduced to Ted Mitchell (Connick, Jr.) her first night in town and his conservative perspectives on life, completely clash with Hill’s more liberal views and so an adversary is born. A city girl, Hill was a bit stifled by the sedate small town life, and the complete lack of business decorum.
Siobhan (pronounced "sha-vahn") Fallon-Hogan as Blanche Gunderson is the third lead in this film, it seems she has more screen time than Zellweger or Connick, Jr. and most of the really funny “laugh out loud” lines. An active member of the neighborhood scrapbooking club, Gunderson is a good old fashioned working girl who spends time at work on personal phone calls insisting that she will “never reveal the secret tapioca pudding recipe.”
New In Town is a film full of hopefulness and wholesomeness, while maintaining a high entertainment quotient. A surprising, if not lackluster choice, Zellweger and Connick, Jr. are not the king and queen of romantic chemistry, as love interests the two stars are awkward pair, and yet, it somehow works. If only love were the answer to lay-offs and recessions!