Dave White
New In Town Review

Dave's Rating:


Renee Zellweger-as-drinking game.

Who's In It: Renée Zellweger, Harry Connick, Jr., Siobhan Fallon Hogan, J.K. Simmons, Frances Conroy The Basics: Renée is a corporate hangman whose job is to go to a small Minnesota town, modernize their local dairy plant and fire half the employees. You can tell she's a sophisticate because she's rude to the locals and wears really high heels. Then comes Harry Connick, Jr., the local union rep and volunteer fireman. You can tell he's a good solid guy because he drinks beer and doesn't shave and puts that annoying woman in her place. Then the bad guys from Fargo come along and they shove everyone head-first into a wood chipper. I know, yes, untrue. But that fantasy ending kept me from falling asleep. What's The Deal: I have a heart. If The Notebook is on cable and I happen to flip past it on my way to watching Destroyed in Seconds I will sit there in my pajamas and have a good cry, just like any man. But I want my romantic COMEDIES to remember that it's their job to make me laugh. And Renée Zellweger's already puzzling face, set to somewhere between "seething rage" and "needs more fiber," for the duration of a 90-minute movie that feels as long as Che, is only capable of cracking me up for about six of those minutes. AND THAT'S NOT ENOUGH. Featuring Several Of Everybody's Favorite Despicable Plot Devices, Such As: 1. The tiny town full of moronic hicks. 2. The tiny town full of moronic hicks with funny accents who love Jesus because they're such moronic hicks but who still have way more wisdom than those fancy city folk. 3. The icy bitch who needs a real man to teach her about love and life. 4. The ultimate valorization of tiny-town life as morally and romantically superior even though the movie was produced entirely by Hollywood jerkwads, with the real message being, "Stay home where you belong. Don't come to Los Angeles and steal our jobs." Performances Designed To Keep You From Gnawing Off Your Own Limbs In The Hope Of Escaping The Theater: Delivered by awesome character actors like J.K. Simmons (he was that one funny FBI guy in Burn After Reading, remember? He provides one laugh by turning Renée's character into a drinking game) and Siobhan Fallon Hogan (she's a tapioca-dispensing scrapbook lady here and almost makes you feel things from time to time) and Frances Conroy (the mom from Six Feet Under, earning a well-deserved check). It Could Be Worse: It could be as bad as Rumor Has It. Missed it by this much.

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