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Wednesday
Jan282009

New in Town

I've been sitting here staring at this white canvas for about ten minutes, perplexed at how to start this review because there are so many problems with this film that I can't figure out how to condense it all into this write-up, much less the introductory paragraph. I'm sure we're all aware that January is "dump month," where the movie studios release all the films they have zero faith in, and this is one of them (there's a shocker). The writers of New in Town must be new in Hollywood because this is one horribly predictable, clichéd mess of a movie.

Renée Zellweger plays Lucy, a consultant used to the upscale city life of her home in Miami, who is shipped off to a town in Minnesota to oversee the restructuring of a factory. She isn't used to this lifestyle and immediately hates it, but once she is there, she is befriended by the town residents and meets hunky Ted, played by Harry Connick Jr., and is smitten with him. Do they fall in love? Do hookers like money?

Renée Zellweger (who looks like she's had a few too many Botox injections) is one of those actresses that really isn't pretty enough to be the lead in a romance flick. Let's face it. The girl has a face that says, "I just ate a super sour lemon" when it's supposed to say, "I'm being cute." You know the face, the one where she puckers her lips and squints her eyes. Yeah, that one. But I really can't hate on her for that. What I can hate on her for is her acting. Despite being great in a few other films, she gives a very mediocre performance here, delightful at times, but mostly annoying and trite. However, that may not all be her fault. Her character (and everyone else's) are just poorly written.

These characters simply don't play to the purpose of the movie, which is to create a sweet, convincing love story. Zellweger's character is such a jerk that you don't like her and want her to fail. On the other hand, the town citizens are so cheerful and joyous that you end up being annoyed by them. The two sat on opposite sides of the spectrum. The idea, of course, is that these oppositions will conflict, and they do, but the characters themselves feel too phony to give any credibility to what is already a meandering, lazy film.

The failed attempt at romance is only half of the equation. The other half is the comedy (it is a romantic comedy after all), but guess what? It isn't funny. Surprise! There is one big belly laugh about midway through the film where Ted gives his daughter's date a threatening realization of what will happen to him if he does anything to her. But the rest of the movie is an empty void, where monotony is only a line of dialogue away and tired jokes are the order of the day. For instance, when Lucy arrives in Minnesota, she has to use a cart to push her large amounts of luggage around. How funny! Women like to pack a lot when going on a trip! Hardy har har.

I know most romantic comedies are bad, but this is just terrible. Considering how low my expectations were, it's really a testament to how much of a failure this steaming turd of a movie turned out to be. One good laugh is about all you can expect from a film with zero originality. New in Town is brain deadening and should be avoided at all costs.

New in Town receives 0.5/5

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