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Movie Review

New in Town a.k.a. “32 And Single,” “Chilled in Miami,” “Moonlighting In Minnesota”

MPAA Rating: PG for language and some suggestive material.

Reviewed by: Misty Wagner

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Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
Adults, Teens
Romance, Comedy
1 hr. 36 min.
Year of Release:
USA Release:
January 30, 2009
DVD: May 26, 2009
Copyright, Lions Gate Films / Gold Circle Films Copyright, Lions Gate Films / Gold Circle Films Copyright, Lions Gate Films / Gold Circle Films Copyright, Lions Gate Films / Gold Circle Films Copyright, Lions Gate Films / Gold Circle Films Copyright, Lions Gate Films / Gold Circle Films Copyright, Lions Gate Films / Gold Circle Films Copyright, Lions Gate Films / Gold Circle Films Copyright, Lions Gate Films / Gold Circle Films Copyright, Lions Gate Films / Gold Circle Films
Relevant Issues
Copyright, Lions Gate Films / Gold Circle Films
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Hypocrisy in the Church—“I would never be a Christian; they’re a bunch of hypocrites.”

Featuring: Renée Zellweger, Harry Connick Jr., Siobhan Fallon Hogan, J.K. Simmons, Mike O'Brien, Frances Conroy, Ferron Guerreiro, James Durham, Robert Small, Wayne Nicklas, Hilary Carroll, Nancy Drake, Stewart Zully, Marilyn Boyle, Dan Augusta, Jimena Hoyos, Suzanne Coy, Ordena Stephens-Thompson, Devin McCracken, Leif Lynch, Adam Cronan, Tom Wahl, Christopher Read, Peter Jordan, Vanessa Kuzyk, Matt Kippen, Benjamin Beauchemin, Kristen Harris, Blane Cypurda
Director: Jonas Elmer
Producer: Edmonds Entertainment Group, Epidemic Pictures, Gold Circle Films, The Safran Company, Paul Brooks, Tracey E. Edmonds, Phyllis Laing, Jeff Levine, Andrew Paquin, Peter Safran, Jonathan Shore, Darryl Taja, Dylan Tarason
Distributor: Lions Gate Films / Gold Circle Films

“She’s an executive on the move. But her career is taking her a little farther than she expected.”

Lucy Hill (Renée Zellweger) is your average career girl. Designer shoes, clothes and handbags accessorize her busy life. With her upscale city apartment, her expensive car and her classy lifestyle, Lucy believes that her life represents her, well—expensive taste, for a girl on her way to the top. This is why, when sitting in a board room full of men who represent her company, Lucy finds herself volunteering for an assignment that no one else seems willing to take on. Her corporation’s Minnesota plant is to begin production of a new health product and Lucy’s job is to restructure the plant, decrease it’s employees by 50% and have it all running smoothly—as quickly as possible. With her hopeful eyes set on the possible prize of becoming Vice President, if she pulls it off, Lucy relocates from Miami to New Ulm in the dead of winter…

Immediately upon arriving in New Ulm Lucy meets Blanche (Siobhan Fallon), a quirky gal who specializes at making a top secret tapioca pudding, is an obsessive scrapbooker and has a knack for bringing Jesus up in even the most casual of conversations. It is Blanche’s attempts at playing cupid which first introduces Lucy and Ted (Harry Connick Jr.), two people who—on the surface—couldn’t be a worse match…

“New in Town” has heart. Typically, most comedy romances tend to lack genuine heart, and even though the basic formula for this film has been done time and time again, I felt that something about this movie really works. Its jokes aren’t new, its stereotyping isn’t at all ingenious or clever—and yet the audience delivered streams of laughter.


  • Though it isn’t constantly present, there is profanity in the film.
  • There is a scene where Ted and Lucy appear to be making out, on the couch, but when he stands he pulls up and does his pants.
  • There is a brief conversation, in the woods, when Ted discovers (by accident) that Lucy is wearing provocative underwear. This scene was in nearly every move trailer so most people going into the film are aware it’s there. I hesitate to say it’s “harmless” scene, but the mention of her underwear is as far as it goes.


  • The transition that Lucy’s character makes, from cold and detached professional is easy to relate to. Though the story line of the film never grows very deep, there are moments within the characters of Lucy and Ted where a level of depth is present.
  • The first time Blanche brings up Jesus, I expected the film to either A) paint her as a nutjob or B) end up making a mockery of God. Neither of these occur. In fact, Blanche is a key character in the film.
  • There are several conversations had, in the film, that provide great discussion points ethically. One conversation is in regards to popular music and what defines a successful woman. Is it when sex appeal sells her image via the entertainment industry? Other conversations revolve around business and the fine line between a corporate decision and people’s livelihoods. If this is a movie you want to take your more mature teens to see, I can imagine this film containing a few windows of opportunity for discussion.

Overall, I am surprised to say that I really liked this film. It was touching and engaging. An plot line that somehow works, with a fantastic cast to boot. I recommend this film to those who love comedy/romance.

Violence: None / Profanity: Moderate / Sex/Nudity: Mild

See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.

Viewer CommentsSend your comments
Comments below:
Positive—I found this to be a pleasant romantic comedy. The chemistry between Lucy and Ted works. I didn’t see Ted buckling his pants when they had to quickly jump off the sofa—just tucking in his shirt. At a time when the country’s economy is tough, and people are getting laid off, this was a timely movie about trying to save jobs. Christianity, and Christmas in particular, are presented positively, much to my relief and delight. The audience with me laughed quite a bit. There are some genuinely funny scenes. I found the sexual references or innuendos only marginally offensive. This movie was ok, and I left with a nice feeling.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Average / Moviemaking quality: 4
Halyna Barannik, age 62 (USA)
Positive—I went to see this movie with girlfriends and don’t think I’ve ever heard a theater laugh so loudy! It was a cute, romantic movie with a great moral and very little objectionable content. I would recommend this movie for teens and adults. Younger than that may not understand a lot of the humor.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: 4
—Rachelle Smotherman, age 35 (USA)
Positive—My husband and I went to this movie for a matinee date. We were concerned with the “offensive” rating this Web site gave, but were pleasantly surprised at the decency of the movie. Jesus is mentioned a couple of times, and it is in a sweet and sincere way. Although Lucy and Ted have a somewhat implied “makeout scene,” you don’t really ever see it, and the movie never portrays them sleeping together (relief!). It is a sweet story with some good laughs. We really enjoyed it.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: 4
—Denise K., age 45 (USA)
Positive—I loved this movie! Some seem to find the christians were made out to be hypocrites and poked fun at, I must protest! If you are one of those “christians” who think christians must be perfect people in order to be a follower of Jesus Christ thae I say, DON’T WATCH it. If, however, you have no such silly notions and are not an unrealistic, silly prude who think uncomfortable things never happen in real life, and you like romantic comedy, I can guarantee you will enjoy this film. Its characters are genuine, and although flawed (GOD FORBID, LOL!), are caring and go out of there ways to make a stranger welcome in a “new town.” So, if you are imperfect and make no qualms about being a regular sinner, saved by grace then grab a few friends who are equally aware of their own states and enjoy!
My Ratings: Moral rating: Good / Moviemaking quality: 5
—Rebekah, age 28 (USA)
Positive—I saw this movie with a group of my girlfriends for my 40th birthday, and I don’t think I have laughed so hard in a long time. I totally disagree with those who say this movie is offensive. In my opinion, this movie does not make fun of Jesus. I think it shows a nice group of small town people being kind to a city girl who thinks she’s all that. I thought the way they portrayed the people in this small Minnesota town was very welcoming, and the kindness they showed her changed her attitude in the end.

I think one of the funniest parts was when Lucy was a little cold, and it was showing, and the things she does to stop it. I think all of us women can relate to that problem, we are human beings that have to deal with stuff like that. If you are a rigid person who is about religion—not relationship—then you probably won’t like this movie. If you like good humor that centers around our own imperfections, then you will find this movie charming and funny. In the world today, with the kind of truly offensive movies that are being made, this is mild and one you could see on a date, with your girlfriends or children over the age of 12.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: 4½
—Julie, age 40 (USA)
Positive—Except for the fact that Renee annoys me, I love Harry, and this film is cute overall. I don’t agree with the reviewer’s “offensive” rating. It was cleaner than most out there, and the story was heartwarming and very funny.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: 3
—Deb, age 33 (USA)
Positive—Being from the Midwest, now living in sunny California paradise, this was a great “flashback” to what rural small towns are really like. My girlfriends and I really liked this film… lots of great laughs, nothing too suggestive or inappropriate. My favorite character is Blanche Gunderson! Everything she says is SO funny. Touching, heartwarming and a great chic flick.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Average / Moviemaking quality: 4
—Diana O, age 40 (USA)
Positive—It’s so rare to find a romantic comedy these days with no sex! It was a moving story line of how this little town’s charm changes this professional woman, so that she learns what’s really important and helps save the town. There is some strong language and she gets drunk to stay warm in a blizzard and there’s one scene where they are making out on the couch, but personally I found it generally innocent and appropriate for mature adults.

In addition, I found all the references to Jesus and the open love for the Lord to be a rare pleasure in a secular film. In no way was it being made fun of, in fact, it portrayed the one lady as very wholesome and loving. I highly recommend this film!!!

PS: The “are you sure you’re not cold?” scene was actually quite funny and not inappropriate!
My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: 3½
—Shannon, age 28 (Canada)


Negative—I found this movie to be offensive. Soon after coming to town, and wearing a thin material that was not suitable for the cold weather, the camera gets a close up shot to show she is obviously not wearing a bra, showing how her breasts react to the cold. She begins slapping and hitting her breasts to make this reaction stop, in vain. This scene goes on for awhile, letting the audience either squirm with indignation, or laugh. I found it offensive and thought that it was worth mentioning here, because others would probably find this to be the case for them as well.

But what really made me upset was how I felt they made fun of Christians. When she is invited over for dinner at her Christian, talkative, tapioca pudding cooking friend/secretaries house, and the poor lady’s husband stands there gawking at the main characters breasts, as she is wearing a snug fitting dress. The hostess is obviously uncomfortable as her husband stands there goggling at the guest, but, I guess, to some this in itself is pretty funny. I didn’t find it so. The “Christian” townsfolk who walked together so beautifully singing a Christmas Christian hymn were the same foul-mouthed town folks throughout the show. I felt this portrayed Christians as hypocrites and backwards. Though the secretary is, from all I remember, a sweetheart, her family doesn’t depict what I would think of as Christian.

In my opinion, this is not a fun movie for Christians, and I left feeling pretty upset.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Very Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 4½
—Betty, age 49 (USA)
Negative—I find myself in total agreement with what Betty has said here. The talk about Jesus goes completely limp when it’s in a setting of non-Christian attributes! [Titus 1:16] And yes… it is making fun of Christians and what we stand for, which is the worst kind of sin to blaspheme the Holy Spirit and CLAIM to be Christian, when one is really not.

Then, not only do you have the long, drawn-out “breast” scenes, but also the underwear scene, the “almost” making love on the couch, the outbursts of wrath and the cussing sprinkled here and there [as well as some IMPLIED cussing], and the drunken scene where the main character falls off the porch. In fact, that was about the only chuckle from the audience during the whole movie. Sad!—when all we can laugh about is someone getting drunk.

Not only is this a super-slow, extremely predictable movie, but the bad in it FAR outweighs the good!! —and, in fact, the only reason we chose to go was because (sigh… why haven’t we learned by now?) we were taken in by thinking that a PG rating would be mild and okay… not so…

This is not a movie I would recommend to ANY Christian whose aim is to please God by what we say, think, act, or even by what we allow to come INTO our lives and spirits; and I certainly wish we wouldn’t have seen it either. While it’s not totally vile throughout and certainly not the worst movie out there, but, even so, it’s the proverbial just a “little dog poop in the brownies” scenario… Not recommended, a good waste of money and time! I find this movie to be offensive.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 2
—Reva, age 49 (USA)
Comments from young people
Negative—I went to see this film with a non-christian and christian friend, and, in my opinion, it was offensive. There is a character which is a Christian, but she is used to make a mockery of Christianity. The things she says, such as “you’re never alone, Jesus is aways with you” and “have you found Jesus,” and in reply “I didn’t know he was missing” are all used to make a mockery of Christians, and many of the audience laughed at these. There is a scene when the main character is basically having sex with a guy on the couch, and they are abruptly interrupted, and he stands up and zips up his jeans, so it is obvious what they have been doing.

There was some swearing, such as s**t and various forms of blasphemy. I sat through the whole movie feeling uncomfortable and regretted watching it.

In general, the movie making quality was average, but nothing special. If you are a Christian, then don’t see this film; I felt bad watching it, and christians shouldn’t watch films like this. Young people, this applies to you—being a Christian is about being Christian all the time, not just when you feel like it! Remember, “your body is a temple of the holy spirit”—keep it clean!
My Ratings: Moral rating: Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 2
—Abigail, age 15 (United Kingdom)