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New in Town - DVD Review


With a standing repute from romantic-comedies like Down With Love and the Bridget Jones saga, this new offering from Renée Zellweger is a sustaining approach at keeping the genre alive. Apparently sailing in the same boat as Jennifer Aniston and Sarah Jessica Parker, pushing 40 doesn't appear to be a deterrent for Zellweger when it comes to rom-coms. Even so, first impressions of this film are along the lines of a chick-flick. Then again, the lasting impression is also that of a chick-flick. Not to say that the film is meant for a girls only sleep over night; far from that, it anchors heavily around the fact that women in their right minds are one rung up on the corporate ladder these days, and for good reason.

New in TownDrafted to a sister company in icy Minnesota to cut manpower and production costs by half, Lucy Hill (Zellweger) and her sunny big-city Miami disposition is met with a frigid reception by the small town locals in New Ulm. Having unintentionally insulted the labor union representative and his foreman at the production plant, Lucy realizes her corporate executive swagger complete with smart talking, stiletto fashioned approach may be the last thing she needs in favorably completing her assignment. Eventually, she gains the conservative community's good will and acceptance, only to learn that her parent company wants the Minnesota branch completely shut down, potentially ruining the lively hood of this small town.

From the stand point of a financial recession, this film could not have come out at a better time. Besides addressing business ethics in today's highly competitive corporate structure, the big question is how well a woman fits into a stereotypical role traditionally reserved for men, especially when it comes down to the delicate issue of firing people. What makes it more interesting is as suggested in the title, and as such Lucy Hill finds herself struggling to uncloud her judgment when falling for the union chief Ted (Harry Connick Jr.), befriending her secretary Blanche (Siobhan Fallon Hogan) and ultimately avoiding the fish out of water tag.

Compared to Bridget Jones's Diary, this not a laugh out riot, something an avid Zellweger fan will notice right from the start. All the same, humor though generous, is on the ball and comes from polished facets in a lukewarm plot. Fallon Hogan and J.K Simmons (as foreman Stu Kopenhafer) provide an ample dose of the laughter even with their over the top Nordic demeanor. Connick Jr. and Zellweger carry the rest of the plot forward with just the right swig of on screen chemistry alternated only by some slapstick moments including a butt load of buck shot. Aside from acting, the overall script though predicable, makes for a believable plot, testament of which lies in the real time fun actors seem to be having while playing out their characters.

If this is director Jonas Elmer's attempt at feel good cinema, he may have gotten away with it. However, cinematography appears to be a has-been with an uncanny resemblance to Fargo. The context is about adapting from city to small town lifestyle; freezing one's butt off in the process somehow doesn't quite gel in. This flaw aside, the film is a decent and timely caricature of the current middle-class crisis and as depicted here, people, attitude and the innovativeness of change are factors likely to get us out of this mess. Bail out or not.


Component Grades
Movie
 
DVD
3 Stars
 
3 Stars
     
DVD Experience
3 Stars

DVD

DVD Details:

Screen Formats: 1.85:1

Subtitles: English; Spanish; Closed Captioned

Language and Sound: English: DTS 7.1 HD French: Dolby Digital 5.1

Other Features: Color; interactive menus; scene access; deleted scenes; audio commentary.

Supplements:

Commentary:

Featurettes:

Deleted Scenes - (14:59)

Previews - no trailers included

Number of Discs: 1 with Keepcase Packaging

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