You may or may not be aware, but I write movie reviews for a website. The Christian Manifesto. I was drawn to this website specifically because the editor, Calvin, has a vision/mission to push Christian filmmaking, and music etc, to a higher level. To review it as we would any Hollywood style movie and expect more out of them. Because there are so few Christian films being done, I review whatever is floating around, with my Jesus bent of course, but also with my single girl bent, and my own personality and tolerance levels etc. I've thoroughly enjoyed writing for him for the last year or so. It has been a struggle for me. I am INCREDIBLY moody about watching movies, i.e. which movie to watch when, and I am a procrastinator, and I have never been consistent about anything in my life, except my lack of consistency, which I can only think can't possibly count. But he and I are working together, he is INCREDIBLY patient with me and it was an additional outlet to writing. Without further adieu, here is the review I just submitted for the newest Renee Zellweger movie, New in Town, with Harry Connick Jr.
New In Town -
New in Town is a sweet, corny romantic comedy. It is also set in a unique place, way deep into the mid-west. New Ulm, Minnesota to be exact. And if you doubt any of the authenticity, the featurettes make it clear how real the shooting was, since they shot the film on location in Winnepeg Canada and the average temperature was 50 below zero. That was pretty impressive actually. And made for a uniqueness and realism that you don't always see in movies supposedly 'set' in a certain place.
Renee Zellweger does a good job as Lucy. She is hard when she needs to be, somehow a bit naïve, and completely blindsided by love. Ted, played by Harry Connick Jr, is the kind of guy most girls would love to meet. He is a fireman and the local union rep, he is a single dad who obviously cares very deeply for his 13 year old daughter, and he's hot as ... well, let's just say he's hot. The supporting cast does a phenomenal job, especially when faced with an accurate 'Yooper' accent. Siobhan (pronounced sha-vaun) Fallon you may recognize as the birthing teacher from Baby Mama. She has done a number of films, always in a supporting role, and always does what I consider to be a fantastic job. She is just as fantastic here. Brings the culture of the midwest to life and yet doesn't allow it to be flat or uninspired or offensive to those of us who actually choose to live like that. She is helped by J.K. Simmons, who can be recognized as the newspaper boss in the Spiderman movies, and I believe he was the father in Juno. He does much the same as Siobhan does, brings the different way of life to the screen in a 3-d, fully fleshed out version. Both of them have what I consider to be some of the funniest lines in the movie.
Also, worth noting is the 'character' of the cold. The writer says in one of the special features videos that he wanted the cold to be a character unto itself. It is. As I mentioned above they filmed this movie in Winnipeg, and that part of the special features had it's own kind of amusement that builds into a fair amount of appreciation.
If you've ever lived in the midwest, if you're a native, or if you've ever wondered how we manage to do more months of freeze-your-tuckus-off-cold than not, then this is a movie you'll enjoy. If you're from the midwest, keep an eye on Lucy's wardrobe, you'll see the funnies coming before she does. This is a sweet, corny movie. It's actually another good choice for trying to impress a girl on date nite. Especially since Harry Connick, Jr, actually says at one point in the featurette “You can't 'be' sexy under 8 layers of clothes, it just can't be done.” So, you won't get completely pushed aside for the hunky hunk on the screen. I laughed a lot, and I laughed hard. And I watched it twice the first night, and twice more the following week. I may go watch it tonight as I fall asleep.