Zellweger: 'I Have a Crush on Jimmy Carter...He Writes Poetry'

On Thursday's Late Show, actress Renee Zellweger recounted her “emotional” experience seeing Barack Obama's inauguration, but Obama isn't the only liberal politician she idolizes. Zellweger, who stars in a new movie that apparently ridicules small town America and Christians, told USA Today: “I have a crush on Jimmy Carter. I admit it. He has an extraordinary mind. He's an exceptional human being. And he writes poetry, for crying out loud. He's all good things.”

In a Friday “Life” section profile, “A low-key Renee Zellweger loves to hide in plain sight,” reporter Donna Freydkin relayed: “So wowed was Zellweger that she waited in the blistering Manhattan cold for 2 1/2 hours on Monday to have the 39th President sign her copy of his latest book, We Can Have Peace in the Holy Land: A Plan That Will Work.”

Humorously, three pages later, USA Today film reviewer Claudia Puig trashed Zellweger's movie which opened Friday, The New Town, as not only “the worst movie of this fledgling year,” but as “one of the worst movies of any year.” Puig condemned it: “Not content to be merely inane and predictable, it is downright insulting, humorlessly deriding those who choose to live in rural America, labor in factories or have a strong Christian faith.”

Internet Movie Database's page for Zellweger, who is probably best-known for her title role in 2001's Bridget Jones's Diary.

Freydkin's profile included a look at Zellweger's quest to hear Obama's inaugural address:
With visible glee, Zellweger recounts her morning running around the capital, trying to find an unblocked street that would let her be near Barack Obama's new home and hear the swearing-in.

"And now it's 10 to 12. And I knew I wasn't going to make it. I'm feeling the energy of all these people," she says. "I feel that something magnificent is about to happen in our country, something very right is coming to be. So I had to get in earshot. I start running. There's a police barricade on First Street. I see an opening on one of those. There's a lady leaning on it. It just so happens that she's blind so she didn't need to stand up. I stand up behind her. I have no ticket, I have no plan. I just wanted to hear him."
From the top of Puig's January 30 review, “'New in Town': Don't go there, seriously,” which she gave just one star:
To say that New in Town is the worst movie of this fledgling year is to damn it with faint praise. It may be one of the worst movies of any year. Not content to be merely inane and predictable, it is downright insulting, humorlessly deriding those who choose to live in rural America, labor in factories or have a strong Christian faith.

It treats this giant swath of Americans as foolish, if lovable, buffoons, essentially insulting viewers by making the audience unwitting co-conspirators simply by watching this dreck.

It follows a particularly abhorrent Hollywood formula: Ridicule the friendly, rural folks, show how stupid they are, then by the end, place their small-town values and inherent decency on a pedestal....

As dunderheaded as the folks of New Ulm, Minn., are portrayed, Lucy, the ambitious, self-absorbed executive played awkwardly by Renee Zellweger, comes off even worse. She's a citified cliché-and-a-half....
Brent Baker
Brent Baker
Brent Baker is the Steven P.J. Wood Senior Fellow and VP for Research and Publications at the Media Research Center