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New In Town


Latest Home Video

May 26, 2009

MPAA Rating:


Run Time:



Renee Zellweger

Harry Connick Jr

Siobhan Fallon Hogan


2009 Lions Gate Films

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Still shot from the movie: New In Town.

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Overall B-
Run Time98

Making the Grades

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.

Discussion Ideas After The Movie

Teaching ideas and topics to discuss about New In Town.

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.

Canadian Movie Ratings

PG Coarse Language.
AB PG Coarse Language.
MB PG Mature Theme.
ON PG Language May Offend, Not Recommended for Young Children.

Canadian Home Video Rating: PG

Watch @ Home

Details on home video releases of New In Town...

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.

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