New In Town: movie released 2009

Lucy Hill's first encounter with Minnesota weather. Scene from the movie "New In Town."
Lucy Hill's first encounter with Minnesota weather. Scene from the movie "New In Town."

Movie Review

New In Town, released in 2009 and written by Ken Rance and C. Jay Cox, is very witty and entertaining. This movie primarily takes place in the state of Minnesota. The actors portraying the residents of New Ulm, Minnesota have the northern mid-west accent down pat. They were great in their parts! Hat's off to the expertise they displayed as small town folk. The entire cast, crew, and director Jonas Elmer created an awesome performance that touches a viewer's heart and gives hope for small towns every where. New In Town has a great people story that includes some very real life issues.

New In Town shares the experience of Lucy Hill (Renee Zellweger), a consultant for the corporate office of Munck Foods in South Beach Florida, who is sent to New Ulm, Minnesota to restructure and complete "cut backs" at the plant. The company wants to have the plant become more mechanized with fewer employees in order to generate profit. The food plant is regarded as a "sinking ship" with near zero profit margin. Munck Foods does not care how she manages what they sent her there to do, simply wants the job completed.

This places Lucy immediately at odds with the local Union boss, Ted Mitchell (Harry Connick, Jr.), the plant's foreman Stu Kogenhafer (J.K. Simmons), the employees of the plant which constitutes most of New Ulm's residents and their families. Blanche Gunderson (Siobhan Fallon Hogan), the food plant's secretary provided for Lucy who has watched many plant managers come and go, tries to help Lucy in her unconventional Minnesota ways. At first Lucy is taken aback by this because of their personal nature; definitely uncertain of Blanche's motives.

Lucy is a by-the-book business woman. She soon learns that in a small town the book does not always fly in the work environment; which is "why" Lucy is not readily liked at first. Lucy, using her wits and what managerial charms she has, warms up the New Ulm plant employees and the town residents when she enlists Blanche's help by turning Blanche's tapioca pudding recipe into a fat-free "Zapioca" product that the plant produces and releases upon the market. This new pudding product in record time turns the failing food plant around, into a highly profitable success.

Instead of cutting back the number of employees, the food plant ends up generating more employment opportunities for New Ulm. Every one in New Ulm wants Lucy to stay, but because of her success with the plant Munck Foods promotes her and insists she return to South Beach, Florida. The movie does not end here, an expected spot for a film to end.

Instead this movie's plot progresses realistically forward leading to the subplot's (about two people meeting each other, realizing after a rocky beginning they like each other, and try to have a relationship that is nearly doomed because one is business executive material and the other very union minded) and the plot's concrete resolution. The ending is a delightful surprise and very plausible.

The primary cast (listed in the order of the credits) further included: Mike O'Brien (Lars Ulstead), Frances Conroy (Trudy Van Uuden), Ferron Guerreiro (Bobbie Mitchell, Ted Mitchell's 14 year old daughter), James Durham (Rob Deitmar, the mailman), Wayne Nicklas (Harve Gunderson, Blanche Gunderson's husband), and Dan Augusta (Billy Gunderson, Blanche Gunderson's teenage son).

New In Town is rated PG and available on DVD. The 1 hour and 36 minutes in length was perfect. The plot and subplot unraveled naturally, realistically, without any noticeable forcing or shifting that some writers have been known to use. I recommend viewing this film, especially if you like Renee Zellweger. This was one of her better and more positive female roles as a career woman; loved every minute!

Enjoy!

5 stars for New In Town

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