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New in Town

Big-city gal is won over by small-town America in this predictable comedy



An uptight career woman (Renee Zellweger) relocates to rural Minnesota mid-winter to help revamp a dairy-products factory in this fish-out-of-Miami comedy, directed by Jonas Elmer. There's a round of expected jokes about the perils of the frozen North -- everything from ruined Jimmy Choos to exotic but inscrutable Mid-Americana (scrapbooking, VFW halls) and endless work holidays related to recreational killing of woodland creatures. Only somebody buried in a glacier for 100 years would fail to guess that our heroine soon finds the locals to be good-hearted; the blue-collar single dad (Harry Connick Jr.) a sensitive dreamboat; and the factory and all its hard-workers worth saving. It's harmless, I suppose, if you don't mind a snowstorm of clichés and jokes that revolve around how "weird" completely normal people are. My tolerance for the endlessly mugging Zellweger is low, so I took my comfort from the supporting cast. This crew includes Siobhan Fallon, Frances Conroy and J.K. Simmons, all of whom gave the local yokels more dignity than any Hollywood scriptwriter bothered to.

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