New in Town
Charmingly directed by the Danish Jonas Elmer, Lucy Hill (Renée Zellweger) is an ambitious corporate VP who is assigned to try to get a plant in a small Minnesota town back to profitability. After a dismal introduction, she starts a friendship with the local union boss, Ted Mitchell (Harry Connick, Jr.), but she faces hurdles in winning over the employees of the plant. Her secretary, Blanche Gunderson (Siobhan Fallon Hogan) is the most appealing character in the film. J.K Simmons gives another delightful performance as the laborer’s leader, Stu Kopenhafer. Hogan and Simmons speak in accents that are enchantingly reminiscent of William H. Macy and Frances McDormand in “Fargo” (1996).
The only people who don’t like simple, feel-good movies like this are critics, and they have been nearly unanimous in castigating it (18% on rottentomatoes.com). But critics often get the disease that if a movie is entertaining, there must be something wrong with it.
This is nothing you haven’t seen before, and it is certainly formulaic. But most stories follow similar lines, so to condemn this as being derivative prompts the response, “Name me a film that isn’t derivative.”
Derivative or not, I enjoyed it.