Thursday, December 24, 2009

New in Town

Some movies are like Christmas candy: predicable and super sweet, but ultimately forgettable and not very memorable.  New in Town is one of those movies.  Lucy Hill (Renee Zellweger), young, beautiful, driven, and on her way up in corporate America, finds herself transplanted from Miami to rural Minnesota to oversee the retooling of one of her company's plants.  Definitely a fish out of water, she ruffles plenty of feathers, but falls in love with the hard-working midwesterners, especially Ted (Harry Connick, Jr.).  You can fill in the blanks on this story: the corportation wants to cut jobs, then close the plant, then Lucy has a change of heart and wants to save it.  Ted and Lucy's first meeting is a clash of opposites, then Ted gets the girl, then loses her, then gets her again.  Midwesterners are portrayed with condescending affection.

Culture shock begins at the Minneapolis/St. Paul airport.

Lucy's relationship with Blanche (Siobhan Fallon Hogan) is more fun to watch than her relationship with Ted.  When Lucy arrives, she asks Blanche if she is her executive assistant; she replies, "No, I'm your secretary.  Would you be need one of those?"  She's a scrapbooking, baking Christian, and mirrors everything Lucy is not.  On their first meeting, she asks Lucy, "Have you found Jesus?"  Lucy glibly replies that she didn't know he was missing.  Lucy gets a big laugh out of it, but Blanche fails to see the humor.  Later she asks Lucy if she looks down on the Minnesotans because they, among other things, bring up Jesus in the course of regular conversation.  It's so refreshing to see everyday evangelism modeled, even in a very simplistic way, in a mainstream movie.  I'm challenged by Blanche's openness and frankness in bringing Jesus into her daily conversations, even with her new boss.

This movie attains the heights to which it reaches: a cute romantic comedy with a few laughs and a predictable plot. Like Christmas candy, enjoyable and sweet, but ultimately forgettable.

Bottom line, 2 1/2 stars.

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