Calling New in Town “the worst movie of this fledgling year is to damn it with faint praise,” said Claudia Puig in USA Today. It may be one of the worst movies ever (watch the trailer here, via YouTube). Ambitious executive Lucy (Renée Zellwegger) goes to small-town Minnesota to fire workers. The dunderheaded townsfolk—and her nemesis, union leader Ted (Harry Connick Jr.)—end up embracing her anyway. The film is predictable, and “downright insulting” to rural America and to viewers, who will feel guilty for “watching this dreck.”
A shame, said Michael Sragow in the Baltimore Sun, because this is the perfect moment for a romantic comedy about factory lay-offs. But "as a comic fable for hard times, New in Town is irredeemably moronic." The local color must have come from a Fargo rummage sale, and there are so many "don'tcha knows" that you half expect Tina Fey's Sarah Palin to pop in to say "you betcha."
The sophisticated filmgoer will be disappointed, sure, said Jane Horwitz in The Washington Post. But New in Town opens strong, with "refreshing oddball humor and originality." OK, so it gradually becomes formulaic and cliché, but, come on, its eccentric supporting characters are funny. It's an OK romantic comedy—"teen girls may get a kick out of it."