Movie Review: “New In Town”

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I promised you HERE and I will finally deliver. I had sick kids and a surprise work assignment that kept me up until 2am….but here we go!

If you haven’t already heard, the movie that started this past Friday called “New In Town” starring Renee Zellweger and Harry Connick, Jr. features scrapbooking as part of the movie. I had wanted to see it anyway after seeing some previews, but when I heard there was scrapbooking involved, I had to see it! I mean, with as popular as scrapbooking has become, I can’t think of any other feature film that has included it in this way. I won’t give you the play by play of the entire movie, I’m just sharing the scrapbooking parts, LOL! So if you don’t want any SPOILERS, don’t read!!! For reference sake: Lucy (Renee Zellweger), Ted (Harry Connick, Jr.), and Blanche (Siobhan Fallon Hogan) <- she’s the scrapper.

The movie starts with a group of Minnesota ladies scrapbooking and chatting. There were four ladies around a kitchen table that was about 3×5′ so I had to laugh. For most ladies I’ve cropped with, that would barely be enough space for ONE of us, LOL! The woman who is hosting the get together is the main scrapbooking character and is clearly "into" this hobby. When Lucy arrives in town and Blanche drives her to the home she’ll be renting, one of the first things Blanche asks Lucy is if she’s a scrapper. At first, Lucy just says "huh?" and doesn’t get the question. Later, Blanche asks her again ~ you can tell this is really important to her ~ and whips out a thick, overly embellished mini album from her purse, proceeding to show her album to Lucy while they drive. Lucy asks if she can look at it later instead. It was quite funny, I thought, poking fun at how we scrappers truly are, giving new friends the scrapper litmus test….if they are one, they must be cool. They are officially IN without having to prove another thing to us. And whipping the mini album out of her purse unprovoked. In reality, the only scrapbookers I have knows to carry a full-on album of any sort in their purse are custom scrapbookers and it’s a selling tool for them. Am I alone? Do you carry a mini album in your purse?

There were a few other references to or scenes that included scrapbooking in them. For instance, Lucy comes to Blanche’s near Valentine’s Day. Blanche invites Lucy to make cards, again all seated at that tiny kitchen table with all their gear spread out. Lucy declines (she is clearly too cool for scrapbooking), then one of the ladies hands her a handmade Valentine. Lucy gives Blanche some cash for Christmas, and Blanche gives Lucy a scrapbook….it is clear to the viewer which “gift” has more value. The movie’s closing credits had a scrapbook theme, with the pages of a scrapbook turning, showing photos from throughout the movie, with embellishments and captions. I recognized some Jolee’s, K and Company, and EK Success products. Yes, it IS sad I can recognize product by manufacturer….I’ve come to peace with that.

I noticed in the credits something like “Assistant to Director/Scrapper: Lissette Rodriguez.” I was wondering who the scrapbooker was who made the actual props in the movie and whether she’d get credit…and she did. I Googled that name and can’t find anything on her, so either Lissette is a shy scrapper without a blog (gasp!), or I remembered the name wrong. If you happen to know anything about this “famous” scrapper, tell me about it, K? Even in THIS detailed cast and crew list, I can’t find the name again and there is no “scrapper” listed……sheesh, they even have the Honeywagon Driver, but no scrapper….WTH?

Overall, I liked this movie a lot. Although it does poke fun at things that are near and dear to my heart ~ scrapbooking, being a Christian, fearing job loss to corporate American greed, etc. ~ I think, in the end, the message is that Blanche and her scrapbooking, Jesus-lovin’ friends have a richer and more fulfilling life than busy, pretty, fashionably dressed Lucy. Scrapbooking is portrayed as the backdrop for friends to get together and gossip, a way for women to share and show off what they’re proud of, and a way to make touching and special gifts for those you care about. What a relief….I was expecting some more of the nastiness that seems to get thrown our way for some unknown reason by all the haters.

I was curious as to how non-scrappers in movie media would see the scrapbookers/scrapbooking in “New In Town,” so I did a little searchy werchy and here is some of what I found….

THIS review denigrates scrapbooking:

“Hold on to your toques. The romantic comedy “New in Town,” in which RenĂ©e Zellweger plays a female executive who’s transferred from the big city to small-town Minnesota, opens with a scrapbooking scene. That’s right: a group of women sit at a table pasting photographs and little bits of colored paper into elaborately decorated bound volumes. Exceedingly sensitive viewers, as well as recent patients of open-heart surgery, are advised to avoid “New in Town,” as the excitement may just be too much…And it probably is the first movie to use scrapbooking as a dramatic device. Let’s also hope it’s the last.”

THIS is a great article from Scrapbooking.About.com with an interview with Siobhan Fallon Hogan. She is very sweet and respectful of scrapbookers.

And don’t forget THIS interview on ScrapScene that I posted before.

THIS is a fair review by one of my favorite sites for checking if movie content is family friendly.

THIS review mentions “the gossipy scrapbooking female Minnesotans,” but as a criticism of the triteness of the movie plot, not in a way derogatory to scrappers.

THIS one was cute, how it made “scrap booking” into two words, LOL: “There is also a sweet, family-friendly, small-town-values undercurrent to the story, topped off by Blanche Gunderson (Siobhan Fallon Hogan). Blanche mixes tapioca pudding and scrap booking with sincere faith in action and conversations about Jesus.”

Needless to say, if you’re a scrapbooker, I think you’ll get a kick out of this movie. It’s always nice to see things you can identify with, and see them made fun of, but in a nice way. I really enjoyed the movie for this and other reasons, including a great soundtrack, and plan to watch it again when it’s released to DVD. Please watch this movie and let me know what YOU think of it….

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3 Comments on Movie Review: “New In Town”

  1. Casii
    February 4, 2009 at 4:53 am (5 years ago)

    I’ll probably watch this movie BECAUSE of the scrapbooking (well, Harry Connick Jr. isn’t so shabby either, lol ).

    Reply

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  1. [...] posted about scrapbooking in TV and movies before HERE, HERE, and HERE. If you ever see scrapbooking mentioned in the “real world,” drop me a line … [...]

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