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PCR #462 (Vol. 10, No. 5) This edition is for the week of January 26--February 1, 2009.

This Week's PCR
Movie Review
"New In Town"

Movie review by:
Michael A. Smith

Movies are rated 0 to 4 stars

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"New In Town"  by Mike Smith
DVD Review: "All Monsters Attack"  by ED Tucker
FANGRRL Looks At 2009  by Lisa Scherer Ciurro
They Really Are Who We Thought They Were! .... Steelers No Slouch Either! .... Mike And Stupid In The Morning .... Super Bowl Media Day .... Personal Foul! .... Bonds Will Need A Bond .... ....  by Chris Munger
Super Bowl Prediction .... Top Ten Albums .... ....  by Matt Drinnenberg
Space...the Real Final Frontier .... Anyone Know How To Dance Like A Zombie? .... Young Talent .... What Is Fair .... Passing On .... 50 Years After The Music Died .... 58 .... Super Bowl Prediction .... My Favorite Films, Part 2...  by Mike Smith
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Starring: Renee Zellweger, Harry Connick, Jr. and J.K. Simmons
Directed by: Jonas Elmer
Rated: PG 13
Running Time: 1 hour 36 mins

According to formula Hollywood is keen to point out three things about the state of Minnesota. One, apparently most people in Minnesota have the last name of Gunderson. Or Gustafson. The latter was featured in “Grumpy Old Men.” Both names were prominent in “Fargo.” I have family in “The Land of 10,000 Lakes” and the few times I’ve visited I never met a one. At least as far as I know of. Secondly, I’ve never heard the phrases “okie dokie artichokie” or “rootie kazootie” uttered in public in my travels. I will agree though that, when combined with an over the top accent, they do sound cute. Finally, there is never less than a foot of snow on the ground. Even in July. “New In Town” follows this formula, among others, to a tee.

Lucy Hill (Zellweger) is an executive for the Munck Food Company living in sunny Miami. She jogs on the beach, wears very fashionable high heels and is looking to move up the corporate ladder. She is given the job of taking over a food processing plant to see if they can produce the latest craze of food power bars. Location: New Ulm, Minnesota. SNOWY New Ulm, Minnesota. Arriving at her new office, she is greeted by her secretary, Blanche GUNDERSON (Siobhan Fallon). Asked to bring in some paperwork, Blanche replies “OKIE DOKIE, ARTICHOKIE.” I’ll tell you, this movie could have written itself. Lucy is then introduced to the local union rep, tough but tender Ted Mitchell (Connick). We know he’s tough because he sports a beard, drives a truck and won’t allow his 13 year old hockey playing daughter to listen to Fergie. We know he’s tender because….well he is, believe me. They butt heads as they discuss the future of the plant and its workers but you know it’s only a matter of time before another formula takes charge, that of the standard romantic comedy. Man rescues woman? Check. Woman helps turn daughter from goalie to hottie? Check. Wife’s dead and I don’t think I can ever love again? Check. Throw in the obligatory shopping montage and funny “I have to go to the bathroom but can’t get my oversize coveralls off” scene and you’ve got movie making 101. Which is a shame because the cast deserves so much better.

It’s been six years since Zellweger won an Oscar for “Cold Mountain.” Since then, with the exception of “Cinderella Man,” she has just played variations of her chipmunk cheeked/squinty eyed character from “Jerry Maguire.” It’s like watching Alvin play Clint Eastwood. And let me say right here, before you think I’m being harsh or Ms. Zellweger calls my editor to have me fired, I really like her. I’m still mad she didn’t win the Oscar for “Chicago.” That being said, she needs to find another “Chicago” or “Cinderella Man” in a hurry or she may as well change her name to Meg Ryan….or Theodore. Connick does a solid job here and shows a light comedy touch I hadn’t seen before. The real stars here are the supporting cast. Fallon is well cast as Blanche. Equally good is Simmons, who has some fun at Lucy’s expense as the plant foreman.

Back to the Hollywood formula. A message board for this film on the Internet Movie Data Base is full of posts with titles like “Not What Minnesota Is Really Like” and “Misrepresentation of New Ulm.” Of course, the data base notes that if you like “New In Town” you may also like “Superman the Movie,” which makes no sense unless you think the Fortress Of Solitude is up near Pequot Lakes. However, that being said, a quick search on line tells me that there are 100 Gundersons living in the St. Paul area. And 217 Gustafsons. Who’d a thunk.

In the words of Blanche, “New In Town” is only “okie dokie, artichokie.” On a scale of zero to four I give “New In Town”


This week's movie review of "New In Town" is ©2009 by Michael A. Smith.  All graphics this page are creations of Nolan B. Canova, ©2009, all rights reserved. All contents of "Nolan's Pop Culture Review" are ©2009 by Nolan B. Canova.