New in Town Movie Poster Image

New in Town



Formulaic romantic comedy has mostly mild content.
  • Review Date: January 29, 2009
  • Rated: PG
  • Genre: Comedy
  • Release Year: 2009
  • Running Time: 96 minutes

What parents need to know

Positive messages

The film means well, but it relies heavily on broad stereotypes -- especially those of career women and small-town people in Minnesota. A woman appears to be cold-hearted and judgmental at first but changes over the course of the movie. Characters lie by omission but later feel bad and try to make amends.


A man is accidentally shot, but it's played for laughs. Some yelling.


Some kissing; references to a woman's nipples and thong.


Relatively mild swearing, including "damn," "a--hole," "ass," "oh my God," "hell," "son of a bitch," and a few uses of "s--t."


Closeups on products like high-heeled shoes and handbags (the Chanel logo is visible on one). Signage for various tbusinesses, etc., including UPS and Munck Foods.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Some beer drinking at a bar; a woman gets drunk on wine when her car gets stuck in a snow bank.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this clichéd romantic comedy has some charm but relies heavily on broad stereotypes -- the driven career woman who melts for the right guy, gee-whiz Midwesterners with Fargo accents, etc. -- for its humor. And its message is an unsurprising one about learning to appreciate more of life. Expect some relatively mild swearing (including "s--t"), a few scenes with drinking (including one in which the main character gets drunk), and some kissing and sexual innuendo (mentions of a woman's nipples and thong, for example), but no nudity or violence.

What's the story?

Miami food exec Lucy Hill (Renne Zellweger) wants a vice presidency job so bad she can taste it. Which explains why she volunteers to help streamline her firm's manufacturing plant in the town of New Ulm, Minn. -- an undertaking that could take months (during winter, to boot). Lucy's all business when she first arrives; the workers are suspicious, and an early run-in with handsome union rep Ted (Harry Connick Jr.) goes awry. But her walls inevitably topple in the face of her assistant's relentless cheeriness, and before long Lucy's grown attached to her employees and neighbors, especially Ted ... just in time for her to discover that her boss wants to shutter the factory for good.

Is it any good?


Don't be surprised if you're overwhelmed by deja vu while watching NEW IN TOWN, because it isn't fresh at all, title notwithstanding. It resembles almost every other fish-out-of-water romantic comedy -- with a dash of Northern Exposure thrown in -- and doesn't do much to move the genre forward. Girl meets boy, who's her polar opposite. Girl hates boy, and vice versa. Girl and boy get to see each other's tender side via predictable plot point. Girl and boy fall in love. Monkey wrench appears; relationship seems doomed. But, naturally, girl and boy work it out.

Still, despite its predictability, the film does have some charm. The cast gels well, thanks in no small part to the presence of veterans like Frances Conroy and J.K. Simmons. More importantly, the two leads do have strong chemistry, and Zellweger exudes such warmth that you can't help but like her. Or at least you can't help wanting to like her, even when she does patently foolish things -- wearing a suit jacket in the middle of a Minnesota winter, for instance -- that seem more like clichhd storytelling than anything else. New in Town isn't particularly revolutionary nor memorable, but it does get points for trying.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about whether it's OK to play stereotypes -- whether of people or locations -- for laughs. How does the movie portray women and people from small-town Minnesota? Is it accurate or exaggerated? Can you think of movies with stronger positive female role models? Families can also discuss why so many Hollywood romantic comedies are about opposites attracting. Do you think relationships like that are as frequent (and as successful) in real life?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:January 30, 2009
DVD release date:May 19, 2009
Cast:Harry Connick Jr., J.K. Simmons, Renee Zellweger
Director:Jonas Elmer
Run time:96 minutes
MPAA rating:PG
MPAA explanation:language and some suggestive material

This review of New in Town was written by

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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Kid, 12 years old November 13, 2010

average and a little funny

its worth checking out but you probably wont watch it again. not as innapropriate as people think.
Teen, 13 years old Written byearthgurl July 5, 2010


It's okay...not really worth-seeing.
What other families should know
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Teen, 16 years old Written bymovie madness March 10, 2011
this is a great movie for the hole family! The movie follows a verry seious bussness women from the city who movies to a samll town in wisconson to manage a company. while there she finds out 1st hand how diferent it is to live in a small town and about the importance of friends family and careing about people! the movie is very funny and has a good message!!
What other families should know
Too much sex
Great messages


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