A driven female executive getting run through the corporate ringer and discovering love along the way sounds like the kind of generic working-girl-slash-romantic-comedy-boilerplate project that would have studio executives speed-dialing Sandra Bullock. Of course, a quick perusal of the 2009 movie release schedule might leave audiences scratching their heads because The Proposal, the story of a driven female executive caught up the grinding gears of success and gender equality while stumbling into a love match with a co-worker, stars — guess who? — Sandra Bullock.

New in Town takes Miami corporate executive Lucy Hill (Renee Zellweger) from sunny beach runs and high-tower boardrooms to the chilly wilds of Minnesota to downsize a small plant. And you just know there’s going to be something brewing between Lucy and labor union rep Ted Mitchell (Harry Connick Jr.). As the high-powered exec, Zellweger adopts a curiously awkward stance and gait intended to illustrate Lucy’s stiffness that instead screams, “This is an acting tic.”

In the land of what ifs, someone out there might imagine what would happen if Sandra Bullock had come to this Town and Zellweger had gotten The Promotion. I’m not sure those alternate realities would have been distinct enough to make much of a difference. The girls always learn a lesson and get a man — somehow the man is still more important than the job, go figure. So really there’s nothing new about this Town in either case. (tt stern-enzi) Grade: D