Australian Council on Children and the Media

New in Town

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Short takes

Not recommended under 8 (lacks interest) PG to 13 (Coarse language)

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This topic contains:

  • overall comments and recommendations
  • details of classification and consumer advice lines for New in Town
  • a review of New in Town completed by the Australian Council on Children and the Media (ACCM) on 5 March 2009.

Overall comments and recommendations

Children under 8 Not recommended due to lack of interest & coarse language
Children aged 8-13 Parental guidance recommended due to coarse language
Children over the age of 13 OK for this age group

About the movie

This section contains details about the movie, including its classification by the Australian Government Classification Board and the associated consumer advice lines.

Name of movie: New in Town
Classification: PG
Consumer advice lines: Coarse language
Length 93 minutes

ACCM review

This review of the movie contains the following information:

A synopsis of the story

A small manufacturing plant in New Ulm, Minnesota, is having financial difficulties, so the parent company sends Lucy Hill (Renee Zellweger), one of their top executives, down to sort out the problems. Arriving fresh from Miami in smart suit and stilettos, Lucy is immediately confronted with snow, icy roads and a hostile reception from the employees. Adding to her problems is the ‘small town’ attitude that is very prevalent, particularly in regard to female bosses.
Lucy straightaway gets offside with union rep., Ted Mitchell (Harry Connick Jr.) and plant manager Stu (J.K. Simmons). However, when Ted rescues Lucy from a car crash, in which she’s stranded in the snow, Lucy’s feelings for Ted start to change. Lucy also gains acceptance from the locals when she refuses to close the plant down as ordered by head office and starts on a new profitable venture.

Themesinfo

Children and adolescents may react adversely at different ages to themes of crime, suicide, drug and alcohol dependence, death, serious illness, family breakdown, death or separation from a parent, animal distress or cruelty to animals, children as victims, natural disasters and racism. Occasionally reviews may also signal themes that some parents may simply wish to know about.

Problems faced by women in executive positions

Use of violenceinfo

Research shows that children are at risk of learning that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution when violence is glamourised, performed by an attractive hero, successful, has few real life consequences, is set in a comic context and / or is mostly perpetrated by male characters with female victims, or by one race against another.

Repeated exposure to violent content can reinforce the message that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution. Repeated exposure also increases the risks that children will become desensitised to the use of violence in real life or develop an exaggerated view about the prevalence and likelihood of violence in their own world.

There is some violence and accidental harm in this movie, mainly done for comic effect, including:

  • Lucy crashes her car in the snow
  • Lucy falls over the balcony when drunk
  • Lucy accidentally shoots Ted in the backside while crow shooting

Material that may scare or disturb children

Under fiveinfo

Children under five are most likely to be frightened by scary visual images, such as monsters, physical transformations.

Apart from the above-mentioned violent scenes, there is nothing in this film which is likely to disturb children

Aged five to eightinfo

Children aged five to eight will also be frightened by scary visual images and will also be disturbed by depictions of the death of a parent, a child abandoned or separated from parents, children or animals being hurt or threatened and / or natural disasters.

Apart from the above-mentioned violent scenes, there is nothing in this film which is likely to disturb children

Aged eight to thirteeninfo

Children aged eight to thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic threats and dangers, violence or threat of violence and / or stories in which children are hurt or threatened.

Nothing of concern

Over thirteeninfo

Children over the age of thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic physical harm or threats, molestation or sexual assault and / or threats from aliens or the occult.

Nothing of concern

Product placement

The following products are displayed or used in this movie:

  • Lays crisps

Sexual references

There are some sexual references in this movie, including:

  • mention of women selling themselves as sex symbols
  • Ted tells Lucy to wear something dirty (to go crow shooting) so she wears a G-string under her clothes. Ted has to help her out of her overalls and notices the G-string.

Nudity and sexual activity

There is some nudity and sexual activity in this movie, including:

  • some kissing
  • Lucy’s nipples show through her top because she’s so cold.

Use of substances

There is some use of substances in this movie, including:

  • drinking of alcohol at home, in pubs, in the car

Coarse language

There is some coarse language in this movie, including:

  • oh my God
  • damn
  • crap
  • arse
  • arsehole
  • bitch
  • pissed
  • Goddamit

In a nutshell

New in Town is a romantic comedy very much written to a formula. It is full of stereotypes, but will appeal to teens for its laughs.
The main message from this movie is that people are more important than profits.
Values in this movie that parents may wish to reinforce with their children include:

  • neighbourliness
  • friendliness
  • kindness

This movie could also give parents the opportunity to discuss with their children attitudes and behaviours, and their real-life consequences, such as

  • The film’s ridiculing of a woman executive
  • Do women still need to be rescued by a male hero?
  • Would a woman fall in love with the first good-looking man who comes on the scene even though they’re ideologically and politically opposed?

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