New in Town” is one of those bubbly, fish-out-water romcom’s that I normally despise and relish in trashing. But damnit if that Renee Zellweger and Harry Connick Jr. actually pull it off. It pains me to admit, and I may be distinctly in the minority here, but I really liked this film. It’s predictable to the second, but so well acted by the cast, you find yourself smiling in all the places you should be smiling.

Zellweger stars as Miami food executive, Lucy Hill. She’s the designer suit wearing, glass ceiling shattering, corporate executive with dreams of being the CEO. That dream becomes a nightmare when she is asked to close down a food processing plant in small town Minnesota. Lucy sticks out like a sore thumb, and is fairly demeaning to the locals, who begin to dislike her elitist attitude as well. But Lucy does have an intractable ally in her syrupy sweet and good natured secretary, Marge (Sioubhan Fallon). Marge mitigates the arguments between Lucy and Ted (Harry Connick Jr.), the local union rep for the plant workers. Sparks begin to fly between Lucy and Ted when they help his daughter on her first date. The goodwill is short lived however, as Lucy must tell the town that she was sent there to close the plant.

New in Town is formulaic, but even the coldest of hearts would be warmed by this film. It’s a feel good film. And that’s alright in a time when everything we see is so dark and depressing. Renee Zellweger continues to surprise me of late. She’s been around for a while, has won her fair share of awards, but was never really on my radar as an actress that makes great movies. That all changed with her performance in last year’s fantastic western, “Appaloosa”. I think that’s her career best performance. So I was not too excited to see her follow-up film would be the standard romantic comedy. I am happy to admin I was wrong in that presumption. New in Town is a feel good story for feel bad times. It’s light, entertaining, and will definitely put a smile on your face. I highly recommend it as a date movie.

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