Picks and Pans Review: New in Town

updated 02/09/2009 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 02/09/2009 AT 01:00 AM EST

Renée Zellweger, Harry Connick Jr.| PG |

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ROMANTIC COMEDY
As comforting and familiar as the homemade meatloaf a character dishes out at supper in an early scene, New in Town will appeal to those who are happy to see a romantic comedy—you know who you are—even when its every scene and character seem recycled from an earlier, better film. That's certainly the case with this routine story about an ambitious business executive (Zellweger) who temporarily relocates from tropical Miami to a small town in Minnesota during the freezing winter with the intention of reconfiguring the local factory and firing half its workforce. Once she gets to know the burg's colorful residents (think Fargo, the touring company) and, especially, the rough-hewn local union rep (Connick), she starts having second thoughts. In this age of corporate collapse, Town earns points for its economic populism and general goodwill toward its characters, but the movie leans too heavily on faux folksy charm. Both Zellweger and Connick are so frequently bundled up in multiple layers of puffy coats, mufflers and hats that it's impossible to say more about their performances than that they manage to suggest warmth.

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