A Miami, Florida businesswoman adjusts to her new life in a small Minnesota town.A Miami, Florida businesswoman adjusts to her new life in a small Minnesota town.A Miami, Florida businesswoman adjusts to her new life in a small Minnesota town.
A high-powered consultant in love with her upscale Miami, Florida lifestyle is sent to New Ulm, Minnesota to oversee the restructuring of a blue collar manufacturing plant. After enduring a frosty reception from the locals, icy roads and freezing weather, she warms up to the small town's charm, and eventually finds herself being accepted by the community. When she's ordered to close down the plant and put the entire community out of work, she's forced to reconsider her goals and priorities, and finds a way to save the town.
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I think this film, while not a classic by any means, is being underrated at its current score. Admittedly, I came close to turning off the DVD ten minutes in, when it appeared to be little more than a cheesy send-up of life in the country. Yes, there are a few slapstick moments. And yes, the plot and its various "twists" are predictable. But if you suspend your cynicism and just take it in, it's not that bad of a way to spend an hour and a half. The film is somewhat unconventional in the sense that, unlike so many recent films set in small-town America, it does not portray residents as narrow-minded people in need of enlightenment. As the film progresses, the residents of New Ulm are increasingly shown as three-dimensional human beings. Their strong sense of family and communal ties is embraced, and in fact, portrayed favorably compared to the stark individualism celebrated by our mass culture. In its own way, the film suggests to the urban, "sophisticated" viewer that perhaps there is something to be learned from such people, or at least, that their cultural traditions should not be dismissed out of hand. A little sappy, yes, and predictable, but also heartwarming and a nice little glimpse into a slice of Americana we don't see portrayed that often on the big screen nowadays.
- Jan 2, 2010
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