The billboard for New in Town has it all wrong. It features Renée Zellweger as Lucy Hill, perched on a designer suitcase, legs and arms crossed, coy smile on her lips. The people of a small Northern town (in which Lucy is new) fill the background like a parka-robed choir. Such an image might give you the impression that this is Zellweger's movie. It's not.
Don't get me wrong. New in Town does center on Lucy's attempt to move up the corporate ladder by downsizing an underperforming factory. The driven Miami-based executive takes a short-term assignment to automate the facility in New Ulm, Minnesota, and faces a host of challenges, not the least of which is the climate. Lucy quickly figures out that her stilettos and cardigan are not going to cut it in Minnesota.
(The weather was apparently a challenge for the cast and crew as they filmed in Winnipeg, where they faced record-breaking temperatures of -52.6 degrees. "It was like working on the moon," says Zellweger. "Most people don't even know what 57 below feels like. You freeze to death in two minutes. Anything exposed to the elements, you lose." Cameras couldn't roll for longer than a minute; the heat they generated would fog up the lenses. Brrr!)
Things start to warm up for Lucy when she meets Ted Mitchell (Harry Connick Jr.), the local union rep and romantic foil who's keeping a skeptical eye on her. As Ted and the workers at the plant know, when someone from corporate comes to town, it always means a loss of jobs. Lucy couldn't care less about these jobs, but the friendships she forms in the town slowly shift her perspective on the bottom line. And the catalyst for this transformation isn't the romance with Ted; it's Blanche Gunderson.
Played with typical comedic ...1