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New In Town

New In Town

Review by Jack Foley

IndieLondon Rating: 1 out of 5

THE presence of a strong cast, including Renee Zellweger and serial scene-stealer JK Simmons, can’t save New In Town from becoming one of the most forgettable rom-coms of recent years.

Sadly, everything about Danish director Jonas Elmer’s Hollywood debut feels inept – from its timing and contrived situations to its derivative characters and yawn-inducing predictability.

Zellweger stars as high-powered businesswoman Lucy Hill who is forced to swap the sun and sand of glitzy Miami for bitterly cold Minnesota, where she has the unenviable task of downsizing her firm’s factory.

At first frosty to the town’s home-grown charm, Hill inevitably warms to its kooky inhabitants and even finds romance in the arms of a single father (Harry Connick Jr).

So, when her bosses confront her with some tough choices, Hill finds herself having to reconsider her priorities in life.

New In Town attempts to warm our hearts by adhering to traditional rom-com values, referencing everything from Capra to Doc Hollywood for its fish-out-of-water scenario.

But it’s a clumsy effort that hits the skids early on. The depiction of small-town America, their funny accents and kooky ways feels awkward and borrowed from movies like Fargo, while attempting to extract laughs from situations involving job losses feels particularly insenstitive in the current climate.

Zellweger throws herself into the slapstick moments willingly, but cannot prevent her character from annoying, while her predictable hate-love relationship with Connick Jr’s union rep never feels believable. Even Simmons is wasted despite being given more screen-time than normal.

The result is a pointless, tedious effort that deserves to be given the cold shoulder by audiences.

Certificate: 12A
Running time: 95mins
UK DVD & Blu-ray Release: June 29, 2009