Another timely topic presented is the juxtaposition of small-town and big-city values, not to mention the plight of small-town factory workers and corporate business realities that, these days, often involves downsizing.

Once Zellweger’s character, Lucy Hill, actually starts getting attached to the town, and especially the people who live there, she struggles with her boss’s order to shut the plant down. So in the spirit of invention, and possibly a new gig for the workers of New Ulm, Lucy and the townspeople band together for a new business enterprise that would mass-produce Blanche’s beloved tapioca.

“Above all, this story was a great reminder for me,” Connick says. “It's all those people in the middle who make our lives livable. They produce our food, our transportation. These are the people who pay to see me in concert. That's humbling. This movie made me recognize again that these people aren't statistics—these people are people. Though I'm ignorant of business and how business affairs work, there has to be some common ground between firing everybody because there's not enough to pay them and realizing these people have livelihoods. Here I’m in the entertainment business, and we joke about working out there in the cold. Well, we’re working, and we have to always be thankful for all we have.”

Originally rated PG-13 for brief strong language, Lionsgate and Gold Circle Films announced on January 20 that the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) has toned down the rating of the romantic comedy to PG. The new rating was given by the MPAA after the Lionsgate and Gold Circle Films mutually agreed to cut out the scenes with profanity. In a statement from both studios, the decision to delete strong language was taken to make the film "accessible and acceptable to the entire family," especially since it "has received strong early word-of-mouth from family-friendly audiences."

New in Town opens in theaters nationwide on Friday, January 30, 2009.

Photos courtesy of Lionsgate.