A few days ago, I spotted a new movie on the DVD rental shelf, New In Town (2009), a romantic comedy with Renée Zellweger on the front cover, wearing her usual (annoying) ironic and bemused look. The tagline was:
“She’s an executive on the move. But her career is taking her a little farther than she expected.”
When we first see Lucy Hill, she is running effortlessly along a sun-kissed ocean promenade in Miami, so – remembering her podgy look from the latest Bridget Jones movie – hubby and moi had a bit of disagreement as to whether this svelte athletic woman could indeed be her… And indeed it was. It turns out that Lucy is an ambitious executive, working for a Miami-based company that makes and distributes foods.
The Synopsis on the official website makes Lucy sounds like a typical ditzy token-executive in an otherwise all-male-run company:
“She loves her shoes, she loves her cars and she loves climbing the corporate ladder. When she is offered a temporary assignment – in the middle of nowhere – to restructure a manufacturing plant, she jumps at the opportunity, knowing that a big promotion is close at hand.”
Strictly speaking, she doesn’t actually jump at the opportunity, and it’s highly unlikely that she’s under the illusion that she’ll get promoted because of volunteering. It’s just that the men who sit around the table at the meeting all look pointedly in the other direction when the chairman asks for a ‘volunteer’ to travel to the factory, because they are well aware that the underlying plan is to shut the place down.
As a result, Lucy ends up in the small snow-covered small town of New Ulm in Minnesota, where her high heels, short skirts and short sleeves are decidedly inappropriate.
“New Ulm is a small town distinguished by a thick Midwestern accent, a strong work ethic, and an appropriately skeptical attitude toward big-city newcomers like Lucy, who finds herself in a brutal battle against several factory workers, a nosy assistant (Siobhan Fallon), and a stubborn union rep (Harry Connick Jnr.) who, as fate would have it, just happens to be a love interest as well.” (Synopsis on Rotten Tomatoes)
Unexpectedly (hm…), she starts to warm to life in the small town (probably because she starts dressing more sensibly) with its slower pace. She makes friends with some of the people who live in the town and work in the factory (Munck’s Foods), and so begins to see them increasingly as individuals with their own life stories, rather than as a list of names, jotted down on a piece of paper, of employees to be retrenched.
So when her boss in Miami insists that the factory has to be shut down, Lucy is determined to come up with a plan to save the factory and the town. And she does. 🙂
It’s an easily watchable movie, if you don’t expect too much and don’t mind a few predictable turns in the plot.