Hollywood Tackles HR

Renee Zellweger in "New in Town"

Renee Zellweger in "New in Town"

When I recently attended a Texas Workforce Commission conference, I was struck by the number of HR people in attendance who have begun to hate their jobs. The primary reason? The companies they work for are laying off employees and have drafted their HR managers to serve as the henchman.

Sadly, this phenomenon is becoming so common, Hollywood itself is cashing in on the act. In New in Town, Renee Zellweger plays a corporate vice-president who travels to Minnesota in the dead of winter to layoff factory workers at one of her company’s plants.

Apparently Bridget Jones has sobered up, grown up, and become one of us. Or has she?

While “New in Town” suffers from a predictable plot and a too perfect ending, the many laugh-out-loud scenes make it well worth the price of admission.

At the same time, while the film is, first and foremost, a comedy, it does cause movie-goers to pause and feel the pain of workers facing layoffs and towns facing factory closings. It gives a human face to what many of us (the lucky ones who have not been called upon to serve as henchmen) experience only as a stream of dark statistics on the nightly news.