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NEW IN TOWN aka Chilled In Miami

  Publicity Stills of
"New In Town"
(Courtesy of GV)

Genre: Romance/Comedy
Director: Jonas Elmer
Renee Zellweger, Harry Connick Jr., J.K. Simmons, Siobhan Fallon Hogan, Frances Conroy, Mike O'Brien, Rashida Jones
1 hr 36 mins
Released By: GV
Rating: PG
Official Website: http://www.newintownmovie.com/

Opening Day: 12 February 2009


A high-powered consultant in love with her upscale Miami lifestyle is sent to a middle of nowhere town in Minnesota to oversee the restructuring of a blue collar manufacturing plant. After enduring a frosty reception from the locals, icy roads and freezing weather, she warms up to the small town's charm, and eventually finds herself being accepted by the community. When she's ordered to close down the plant and put the entire community out of work, she's forced to reconsider her goals and priorities, and finds a way to save the town.

Movie Review:

It's not surprising New In Town is getting such little attention in the box office. The film itself is a terrible injustice to anyone who does not know Renee Zellweger for her past achievements - an Oscar, BAFTA, SAG and Golden Globe winning actress, Renee is right up there with the Julia Roberts, Michelle Pfeiffer and Nicole Kidmans of the industry. She is also a producer and, just to refresh your memory, pinnacled with her 2001-2003 triple combo of the endearing Bridget Jones' Diary, the majestically energetic film musical Chicago and the gritty, stark Kidman partnered masterpiece Cold Mountain. New in Town is nothing more than a lightweight festive TV special re-run – it’s not horrible but just disappointing. It’s such a sweet show though that you feel happy enough not to think you've wasted money.

Zellweger plays a headstrong career-minded woman who succeeds in the male-dominated corporate world. Little does she know her achievements count for nothing when she is sent to a company factory in snowy Minnesota, handling a bunch of rural country folk who espouse the amazing recipes of tapioca and gamehunting.

She finds her obsession with technology, engineering and development being shrugged off by a people and culture who only see her as the physical manifestation of capitalistic corporate culture destroying the livelihoods of poor townsfolk. Worst off all Zellweger gets off on the wrong foot insulting unknowingly the town's union leader, while tasked with retrenching nearly the entire factory.

The story has the premise of a potentially wonderful and charming story but the the entire film plays like it is on a fast forward. Ever remember the n-th essay writing exercise in school where you get pretty darn tired with the teacher's model essay advice you start churning out formulaic, acceptable but uninspiring work? New in Town plays like a typical romance comedy with the pivotal scenes played down to a T.

It's a pity because Harry Connick Jr plays a wonderful love interest opposite Zellweger. Despite the limited plot and weak scripting, the charming, classic, charming alpha male character was well executed. Unfortunately, it feels like the efforts of the cast is wasted on a railroaded story that wastes its plentiful potential.

Zellweger's character does experience a change of heart, predictably, and puts her job on the line. When the factory is deemed unproductive and to be shut, Zellweger cooks up a plan to save the factory in two weeks - by proving the factory profitable with old, creaky machinery without needing investment. At this point, what could have been a tremendous last twenty minutes of diligence, perseverance, love and triumph of the human spirit was strangely shunted into a ten minute rush where the emotions were harriedly conveyed, build up and the result fed to the audience. How are we to feel the characterisation and the rising action to an uncertain climax, one that decides the livelihoods of the townsfolk, in a ten minute quick-cut montage?

The biggest question for New In Town is answering what the true motives of the producers and directors are, and how involved Renee Zellweger was in the feedback process. New In Town is perfect for couples who enjoy films that is simple, sweet and straightforward, not those who demand subtlety and critical effort. There's nothing wrong with being formulaic because New In Town is a sweet film to watch. It is just a pity the film scores low because you feel like you've watched it countless times before with reshuffled characters and titles and, more importantly, it is not impossible to make a sweet, simple show that is critically adventurous and refreshing at the same time - something New In Town certainly doesn't wish to be.

Movie Rating:

(New in Town tells the story of the simple, honest lives of rural townsfolk in the most simple, conservative manner possible)

Review by Daniel Lim


. P.S. I Love You (2007)

. Lucky You (2007)

. Music And Lyrics (2007)

. Miss Potter (2006)

. Just Like Heaven (2005)

. Leatherheads DVD (2008)




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