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Quick Pan: “New in Town”

“New in Town” (Renee Zellwegger, Harry Connick Jr., J.K. Simmons, Siobhan Fallon)

Jonas Elmer’s “New in Town,” the poppy soundtrack-happy rom-com equivalent of a frontal lobotomoy, has all the staying power of rapidly dissolving toilet paper, and it’s about that interesting, too. The plot is as formulaic as a paint-by-numbers kit: A ball-busting Miami careerwoman (Zellwegger) moves to the country — in this case, Minnesota — to salvage a production plant. There’s (gasp!) a culture clash involving lots of “aw, shucks” dialogue — most of it uttered by avid scrapbooker Blanche Gunderson (Fallon), who heals all wounds with her tapioca — stolen from the “Fargo” cutting room floor. And, of course, there’s the good ole’ mountain man (Connick Jr., who’s on auto-pilot) who falls hard for the city girl and teaches her the joys of country life, don’t ya know. Yawn. There’s nothing new here, from start to finish, which wouldn’t be so unforgivable if the acting was good. Oops. The former Bridget Jones tries for cute but ends up being “cute,” while Connick Jr. just looks bored (or is that his normal expression?). As for J.K. Simmons, a.k.a. plant foreman Stu Kopenhafer should know better — withering sarcasm or bewildered one-liners he can do; down-home folksy he cannot. But the whole business gave me a great idea for a bumper sticker: I’d rather be scrapbooking. Because that’s exactly how I felt watching “New in Town.” Darn tootin’.

Grade: D

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