January 2009 Reviews
By Shawn McKenzie 1/30/2009
Here are my reviews of the movies that were released in January of 2009. Check back later as the month progresses for more reviews.
Go directly to my review of New in Town.
Lucy Hill (Renée Zellweger) is a driven (though occasionally late) executive for Munck Foods in Miami. When her boss, Donald Arling (Robert Small), says that they need a new manager to restructure their plant in the small town of New Ulm, Minnesota, Lucy reluctantly agrees to do it in order to get farther in the company. It’s a culture clash for her when she doesn’t realize how cold and quaint the town is. She gets along reasonably well with her new assistant, the tapioca pudding-making Blanche Gunderson (Siobhan Fallon Hogan) and her realtor Trudy Van Uuden (Frances Conroy), who is always trying to get Blanche’s tapioca recipe. She doesn’t get along well though with the plant’s foreman, Stu Kopenhafer (J.K. Simmons), or the factory’s union leader, the scruffy, blue-collar widowed Ted Mitchell (Harry Connick Jr.), father to his 13-year-old daughter Bobbie (Ferron Guerreiro.) If Lucy doesn’t figure out how to cut costs, the plant…which manufactures Rocket Energy Bars…may be shut down. This means laying off some people that she starts to get to know better. Along the way, she finds herself falling for Ted…despite his small town ways. Cold nipple gags and jokes about thongs (“You said to wear something dirty!”) are abound, but this one is a cute date flick. Danish filmmaker Jonas Elmer directs his first American film using a script co-written by Ken Rance and C. Jay Cox. Cox’s previous attempt at a hetero romantic comedy (I only say that because he also wrote and directed the 2003 gay romantic drama Latter Days) was 2002’s Sweet Home Alabama, and this movie wasn’t quite as good as that Reese Witherspoon/Josh Lucas/Patrick “McDreamy” Dempsey flick. Zellweger is not nearly as charming as Witherspoon was (heck…she’s not even as charming as she was in 2001’s Bridget Jones’s Diary), and I still can’t forgive Connick Jr. for being the person who made NBC’s “Will & Grace” jump the shark, but both weren’t awful. The criminally underused Simmons and the perky Hogan were highlights as supporting characters. I don’t see this one earning the kudos or awards that 1996’s Minnesota-set Fargo got, but it’s better than a big bowl of tapioca…don’tcha know!
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