Blu-Ray Review: Romantic Comedy Stars Can’t Save ‘New in Town’

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CHICAGORenee Zellweger and Harry Connick Jr.’s “New in Town,” now on DVD and Blu-Ray, was a massive bomb in theaters, opening in 8th place and grossing only $17 million, less than any widely-released Zellweger film in her entire career.

HollywoodChicago.com Blu-Ray Rating: 2.5/5.0
Blu-Ray Rating: 2.5/5.0

I only mention this because so few people have seen the film that they may be drawn to it at Blockbuster or in their Netflix queue. “New in Town” isn’t nearly as painful as I expected it to be but the horrendous script sink all the best efforts of the reasonably charming Renee and always-good Harry.

New in Town was released on Blu-Ray on May 26th, 2009.
New in Town was released on Blu-Ray on May 26th, 2009.
Photo credit: Lionsgate

On paper, “New in Town” sounds promising. Zellweger plays Lucy Hill, a tough-as-nails executive who takes on an assignment at a manufacturing plant in Minnesota. Transplanted from the sunny beaches of Miami to the frozen tundra of the great North, Lucy struggles with small-town personalities.

New in Town was released on Blu-Ray on May 26th, 2009.
New in Town was released on Blu-Ray on May 26th, 2009.
Photo credit: Lionsgate

After butting heads with her workers and local residents, Lucy doesn’t just learn that small-town life has something to offer but finds love with the union representative named Ted (Harry Connick Jr.). Of course, Lucy eventually has to find a way to balance her upwardly mobile career and her new friends in northern Minnesota.

“New in Town” is more forgettable than awful. Zellweger and Connick Jr. have decent chemistry and every romantic comedy would be better with talented character actors like Frances Conroy and J.K. Simmons in the supporting ensemble. The characters aren’t anywhere near as annoying as the recent slate of unlikable romantic heroes and heroines in junk like “What Happens in Vegas” or “Fool’s Gold”.

Ultimately, “New in Town” doesn’t work for the main reason that most bad romantic comedies falter - poor writing. Predictable, generic, and somewhat demeaning to both small-town life and working women, the script for “New in Town” just isn’t as clever, interesting, or believable as it needed to be to work. “New in Town” may be a reasonably cute rental, but you’ll forget about it before you even have to put it back in the mail to get the next Blu-Ray or DVD in your Netflix queue.

New in Town was released on Blu-Ray on May 26th, 2009.
New in Town was released on Blu-Ray on May 26th, 2009.
Photo credit: Lionsgate

Perhaps recognizing that they had a forgettable film to market that would probably be a rental more than a purchase item, Lionsgate has done just about the minimum with “New in Town” on a technical scale. The video is average at best, sometimes even falling below that line and the average is exactly what you’d expect.

The special features are a little more impressive than the technical transfer and do include Lionsgate’s increasingly interesting interactive Blu-Ray features like MoLog, a feature that allows users to insert and animate shapes, text, audio, and other graphics right into the film.

Other special features include a picture-in-picture cast & crew commentary, “Making New in Town in Winnipeg, Canada,” “Pudding’s Delicious Role in New in Town,” and deleted scenes. It’s more than anyone could ask for to accompany such a low-grossing film and should leave Zellweger and romantic comedy fans very satisfied.

‘New in Town’ is released by Lionsgate Home Video and stars Renee Zellweger, Harry Connick Jr., J.K. Simmons, Siobhan Fallon Hogan, and Frances Conroy. It was written by Kenneth Rance and C. Jay Cox and directed by Jonas Elmer. The Blu-Ray and DVD were released on May 26th, 2009. It is rated PG.

HollywoodChicago.com content director Brian Tallerico

By BRIAN TALLERICO
Content Director
HollywoodChicago.com
brian@hollywoodchicago.com

Anonymous's picture

I loved New In Town. I went

I loved New In Town. I went with friends to see it twice! We grew up in a small town which has recently closed a manufacturing plant. Many of our extended family members were affected, so this movie was very relevant to us! Renee was hilarious and she and Harry had wonderful chemistry! The townspeople were very authentic, in my opinion! Great movie!!

Anonymous's picture

Excellent

I loved this movie too. It was typical Renee Zellweger comedy which I love and absolutely love Harry Connick, Jr. The woman who plays Blanche Gunderson was also delightful. This may not be a man’s idea of a good movie, but it is an excellent “chick flick.”

just pixels's picture

old in hollywood-town

About half-way through, I said this is “Franken-movie”, made of parts of other movies. Part “Fargo”, part “Baby Boom”, part “Caddyshack” … you get the idea. I’ll concede it’s hard make a truly original romantic comedy, but “New in Town” is just a rehash of lots of old ideas. And somewhat poorly executed. Story lines wander in-and-out, plot holes are left unfilled, and the presumed comedy is overtly forced.

It’s not exactly a waste of time, but it can’t be hard to find something better to watch or do.

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