New in Town

Would you believe a Renee Zellweger ("Chicago" and "Appaloosa") WITHOUT her pouty squinty little quirks? Her character is practically mannerism free! Whew! She plays a fish-out-of-water executive sent from Miami to a Minnesota plant with the express purpose of reducing the workforce by half. Her determined stride... in VERY high heels... becomes one of her trademarks. Toward the end of the movie, some of the characters HEAR those footsteps and turn their heads in anticipation, knowing full well it's her.

Zellweger allows her character to be embarrassed in a clever way. Her first social engagement in Minnesota is at a private home. To her thin Florida blood, it's very chilly. Her hostess takes one look at her and offers an extra sweater or a jacket, but she insists she is fine. She goes to the bathroom to get herself organized and realizes her nipples are visibly puckered from the cold. Even a small child would relate to that physical response and not find it prurient.

On the other hand, the fish-IN-water, the union representative, is played by Harry Connick, Jr. ("P.S. I Love You" and "South Pacific" - 2001) who starts out being insulted and infuriated by her...so we know...hint, hint...

One of the mainstays at the plant is portrayed by J.K. Simmons ("Juno" and "Burn After Reading"), who is a familiar face and a dependable utility player. I LOVE his living situation!

Watching a Miami resident hit full-force by a icy blast of Minnesota wind is lots of fun. We become acquainted with some of the folks in this small town; we start recognizing some of the faces at the plant; and they all learn their lessons. This movie is funny without becoming slapstick, and sweet without being saccharine. After several screenings the producers realized that they can re-rate it from PG-13 to PG by removing a couple of mild swear words, so believe me when I tell you, this is family fare and is a charming, romantic comedy.