New In Town parents guide

New In Town Parent Guide

The content issues are unfortunate, as is the production's lack of artistic merits and unlikely romantic pairing. If you're willing to look past that, you mind find some commendable messages.

Overall B-

Lucy Hill (Renée Zellweger) is climbing the corporate ladder in her designer suits and high heel shoes. But when the Miami consultant accepts an assignment to restructure a manufacturing plant located in frosty Minnesota, the city girl's "dress for success" ambition proves an obvious mismatch for many of the laborers, including Ted Mitchell (Harry Connick Jr.).

Release date January 30, 2009

Violence B
Sexual Content B-
Profanity C+
Substance Use C

Why is New In Town rated PG? The MPAA rated New In Town PG for language and some suggestive material. (Previously, this film was rated PG-13 for brief strong language, but was edited and re-rated.)

Run Time: 98 minutes

Official Movie Site

Parent Movie Review

Living in a land covered by snow for about half of the year, it’s always hard for me to feel empathy for someone who shrieks at the sight of winter. Yet for Lucy Hill (Renee Zellweger), a resident of Florida, dwelling in such a climate seems like the ultimate sacrifice. But an ambitious desire to claw her way up the corporate ladder at the food processing company where she works means she is willing to do whatever it takes—even if it involves accepting an assignment in Minnesota to restructure one of the company’s plants.

Bracing for the Arctic blast, she bravely exits the airport with a screamed, but carefully edited, near-sexual expletive. And the icy temperature is only the beginning of her chilly reception. Arriving at the small town of New Ulm, the Miami blonde in stiletto heels feels more than a fish out of frozen water when she meets the locals—a selection of highly stereotyped Scandinavians, scrap bookers and beer guzzling laborers.

Squarely focused on the head office’s plans to automate the facility and lay-off half the workers, this woman on a mission is not destined to win friends or popular approval. Completely forgetting to take into account how these strange strangers may affect her, Lucy is surprised when she begins to become attached some of them. These characters include her executive assistant Blanche Gunderson (Siobhan Fallon Hogan)—a nosey Christian, and the town heartthrob Ted Mitchell (Harry Connick Jr.)—who also happens to be the local union rep. Needless to say, the wintry landscape won’t be the only thing melting as Lucy begins to see life from a whole new perspective.

While the film’s plot is thoroughly predictable, it’s ratings process was not. Originally it was awarded a PG-13 from the MPAA (Motion Picture Association of America) in early November 2008—good timing considering the movie contains a Christmas scene where Lucy appears affected by the Christians in her new community. However the film’s distributor, Lionsgate, must have gotten cold feet over releasing the tinselly tale during the packed holiday season and instead shelved it until January 2009. They also trimmed some profanities after admitting the film “received strong early word-of-mouth from family-friendly audiences.” In other words, families at early screenings liked it, but weren’t happy with the language.

Although these alterations did result in a more lenient rating being assigned, there are still a few issues that may keep parents from truly embracing this story. Along with the aforementioned near sexual-expletive, there are over thirty mild profanities and a half-dozen terms of Deity (high numbers for a PG film). Also, an extended comedic sequence evolves from a woman’s problems trying to keeping her erect nipples from being visible through her clothes, and after an unmarried couple on a sofa is suddenly interrupted, the man is shown doing up his pants.

This content is unfortunate, as is the production’s lack of artistic merits and unlikely romantic pairing. Still, if you are willing to look past these blemishes and the fact that there is really nothing New in this town, you will find some commendable messages about the strengths of a community pulling together, looking past first impressions and putting people before profits. And that may be something to warm your heart on a frosty day.

Starring Renee Zellweger, Harry Connick Jr, Siobhan Fallon Hogan. Running time: 98 minutes. Theatrical release January 30, 2009. Updated

New In Town
Rating & Content Info

Why is New In Town rated PG? New In Town is rated PG by the MPAA for language and some suggestive material. (Previously, this film was rated PG-13 for brief strong language, but was edited and re-rated.)

Originally rated PG-13 for “brief strong language,” this movie met with the razor blade and is now cut to a PG rating. However, some concerns for parents still exist, including numerous scatological and mild profanities and about a half-dozen terms of Deity. Some discussion arises about “wearing something dirty” after a man’s instructions to “wear something you can get dirty in” are misconstrued. No visuals are seen, but a woman admits she’s wearing a thong after she gets entangled in a pair of overalls and needs a man to help her get out of them. A woman, stuck in a ditch during a blizzard, hangs red lingerie on her car antenna to attract help. A clothed man and woman are shown on a sofa with her on top of him—when someone interrupts them, we see him (from the rear) quickly do up his pants. Characters drink in various scenes, and in one instance a woman becomes very drunk. In a hunting accident, a man is shot in the posterior.

Page last updated

More parents' guide for New In Town after the break...

New In Town Parents' Guide

New Ulm is an actual community in Minnesota, but rather than Scandinavians (as is implied by portrayals in this movie) it has a prominent German population. Learn more about New Ulm and read an article from the New Ulm Journal about how it was included in this movie.

For Canadians (and others who live in cold climates), you may have a chuckle reading about how Renee Zellweger reacted to filming this movie in Winnipeg, Manitoba.

Home Video

The most recent home video release of New In Town movie is May 26, 2009. Here are some details…

New in Town arrives on the home video market on DVD (in either widescreen or full frame) and Blu-ray (widescreen only). All versions come with the following luggage:

- Audio commentary with the cast and crew.

- Deleted scenes

- Featurettes: Making NEW IN TOWN (in Winnipeg, Canada), The Folk Art of Scrapbooking and Pudding’s Delicious Role in NEW IN TOWN.

The DVD offers audio tracks in English (Dolby Digital 2.0 and Dolby Digital 5.1), with subtitles in English and Spanish.

Subtitles - English, Spanish

Additional Release Material:

The Blu-ray disc provides audio tracks in English (Dolby Digital 5.1 and DTS 7.1 HD), with subtitles in English, French and Spanish. It also includes an interactive feature, Your Own Scrapbook Commentary.

Related home video titles:

Other fish-out-of-water stories include Sarah Plain and Tall (about a spinster from the east coast who comes to live with a prairie farm family), Mulan (a young girl who pretends to be a boy and then joins the army) and To Sir With Love (where an educated, but unemployed gentleman takes a job teaching a group of ignorant, ill-mannered students).