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New in Town Review

New in Town: Lovin' in the Cold

New in Town is packed with a lot of bad, wrong-headed moves including small-town stereotypes, predictability, conventionality, and in one bizarre scene, hard nipples. Despite a talented and likable cast with wonderful character actors like J.K. Simmons and Frances Conroy, this romantic comedy was probably doomed from the start due to a script that can't decide if it wants to be Fargo, Norma Ray, or Working Girl.

That said, there is something in this movie that no script can write in and that's some honest-to-goodness chemistry between the two leads. Maybe I'm a sucker for Harry Connick Jr., maybe it's rare to witness some genuine onscreen sparks, or maybe I've been suffering too long from generic rom-com fatigue. Whatever the reason, I couldn't help but get a moderate case of the warm fuzzies after watching it.

To see some more of my thoughts on New in Town,


Renée Zellweger plays Lucy Hill, a tough Miami executive at some kind of food-making corporation who storms around in sky-high heels as if they were running shoes. We see Lucy at a meeting full of suits and jogging on the shore, but beyond that we don't really get any more insight into her character, which is one of the problems with this script. It makes it difficult later on to sympathize with her or even to understand why she does some of the things she does when she has to take over a processing plant located in the frozen tundra of New Ulm, Minnesota.

Lucy is sent to lay off a bunch of employees, but the longer she's in town the more she sees how devastating her actions would be to the people of New Ulm who have been so gosh darn nice to her. The plight of the town folks is given voice through the local union rep, Ted (Harry Connick Jr.), who has lots of initial contempt for the new lady in town and sees Lucy as a corporate stooge. Until, of course . . . he doesn't.

There are lots of tiresome homespun-isms by the sweet, down-to-earth townspeople, as well as much scrap-booking and tapioca-making, stuff like that. And at first Zellweger plays Lucy as a stiff "ice queen" (another extreme stereotype this movie can claim: that of the callous, powerful working woman). But once things heat up between her and Ted, she warms up and the performance takes on a more natural, playful tone. If fact, it's right in the middle that the characters emerge as more than caricatures and things get charming. Lucy is especially fun to root for midway through because she's smart and determined and also hilariously out of place on dates with Ted. The bottom line is that there is plenty to roll your eyes at, including an ending that's silly and syrupy, but I'll admit it: I laughed and I wanted these two opposite lovebirds to be together forever.

Photos courtesy of Lionsgate

Join The Conversation
noonehere noonehere 7 years
I've just seen this lovie... I enjoyed it, though it's quite predictable... What I don't uderstand is why, at the end, the woman is always the one making sacrifices... What makes it worse is that we're talking about a biscuit factory, making it even more not women-friendly.... is the message "give up your career and go back to your kitchen"? I'm surprised Renee might have supported this idea...
not not 8 years
Does anyone know who makes the shoes she's wearing right before stepping on a box and giving a speech about how she's gonna buy the company ? They're black with some white, camera was focused on them about 20 seconds. It's right before the end of the movie. If anyone could help that would be great. Thank you
californiagirlx7 californiagirlx7 8 years
I saw it in theaters and I thought it was lame, but I really wasn't expecting it to be good.
chicchick chicchick 8 years
Yeah, I'll be waiting for this to show up on HBO...
Linda-McP Linda-McP 8 years
Loved the review, Buzz. This will be a rental for me.
tvjunkie45 tvjunkie45 8 years
I hate the press that they are doing for this. Dissing my hometown, it's not that cold in Winnipeg. Saying that I while it looks like it could be one of those bad yet cute romantic comedy's I wouldn't go. I might check it out if I come across it on tv though.
bebehaul24 bebehaul24 8 years
I didn't really think this looked so great when i saw the coming attraction but for some reason my fiance wants to see it really bad. he's asked me like three times if we can go see it so i guess i'll have to give in. it's not often that he really wants to see something so i'll give it go!
emalove emalove 8 years
Eh, I don't know...I just think this movie looks kind of lame. I don't like Renee very much either. *Maybe* I'd watch it on DVD sometime...
apatel6 apatel6 8 years
I think i'll just watch Bridget Jones...again. Of course with the mandatory repeat rewinding to watch the look on Hugh Grant's face when we see him for the first time getting off the elevator.
blondie829 blondie829 8 years
After seeing the preview, I think everyone knows what to expect from this movie. If you want to just enjoy a mindless rom-com, it sounds like you'll enjoy this. But, if you're looking for a great love story/comedy, this won't work for you. Personally, after all the heavy movies I've been seeing lately (hello Rev. Road..), I think I'll check this out for something fun.
Entertainment Entertainment 8 years
kscincotta — hmmmm. Like is a pretty strong word :) I think it's a pretty bad movie by most standards but I just couldn't totally hate it because the two lead characters have some genuine chemistry together and that's an ingredient that's been sorely lacking from rom-coms of late. There are a few sparkling moments between the two that managed to win me over despite the silly material they were working with.
kscincotta kscincotta 8 years
Interesting review. After reading your post on this movie earlier this week and your previous rant about Rom Coms in your preview of "Ghosts of Christmas Past", I am genuinely surprised that you liked this movie. Now I'm kind of intrigued to see it.
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