The Proposal Reviews
Comedy 40% Romance 40% Adventure 20%
Depending on one's tolerance for the mainstream chick-flick this movie could invoke varied opinions, from downright insipid and merely unoriginal to perfect first date movie that is decidedly likeable extreme escapism. But really, I ask, in this climate the latter seems more considered; putting a rom-com under too much scrutiny is a pointless endeavor.
What gives this that little extra sparkle and charm is the sheer star charisma and interesting dynamic the Ryan Reynolds/Sandra Bullock pairing constitutes. The savvy and bitter dialogue becomes genuine banter as they play off of each other's sarcastic disdain for the majority of the movie effortlessly establishing the required love/hate relationship.
Margaret Tate (Bullock) is a workaholic chief editor for a New York publisher. Margaret is the hard-nosed, reigning ice queen, devil-boss so tyrannical and well versed in making her minions miserable, secretaries cower and dispatch warning IM alerts such as "the witch is on the stick" whenever she moves around the office.
Questioning as to whether her blood would run green, her hard working ever tormented slave of an assistant Andrew Paxton (Ryan Reynolds) obliging orders the same coffee as her each morning just in case of a spill.
Margaret when called to a meeting with the higher powers shows nothing but distain for her lackey, reminding him he is just a wall flower there to make her look good. Until she is informed that she is facing immediate deportation to her native Canada for not having a current working visa.
Instantly the quick thinking exec declares that she is actually engaged to the unsuspecting Andrew, later bullying and blackmailing him into agreeing. However, blackmail is a two way street and realizing the threat of backing out is leverage over Margaret, Andrew adds a few conditions of his own reluctantly only agreeing to participate in the charade if Margaret appoints him as editor.
When the couple meets with her officious immigration officer (Denis O'Hare), he doesn't believe a word and explains in detail the extent he will go to expose the sham. Determined to persuade him, Margaret invites herself to Andrew's Grandmothers 90th Birthday and the new couple fly off to picturesque snow-capped hometown in Sitka Alaska to break the news to his family.
The two vow to stick to the plan of lying to convince Andrew's quirky and rich Kennedy-like tycoon family that they are getting married for love. However, when Andrew's loving Mother Grace (Mary Steenburgen) and delightfully over-the-top Grandma Annie (Betty White) insist on planning an impromptu wedding to be held that weekend, Manhattan-dwelling fish-out-of-water Margaret's icy exterior begins to thaw.
Will they be able to hold it together long enough to convince the agent that their story of love is true or will they realize that their sham is actually a story of real love?
The predictability and contrived comedy-baited awkward scenarios often miss their mark; however, the comedic chemistry is abundant. Well placed snide comments such as "Satan's mistress" and out off place song placement generates enough goodwill to get the movie by.
Constantly underappreciated actress Bullock has a genuine prowess at physical comedy. Finely honing her comic chops and managing to evoke chemistry from emotional black holes Ben Affleck (Forces of Nature), Hugh Grant (Two Weeks Notice) and the wooden Keanu Reeves (Lake House) is by no means a small feat.
Teaming Bullock up with the epitome of hunky, boyish charmed Ryan Reynolds is pleasant to watch even if there is no convincing romantic connection, and the addition of veteran actress Betty White who effortlessly steals each scene she is present in, no matter how ridiculous.
The Verdict: Contending bone crushing machines and depressing postwar period pieces, this fluffy puppy of a film emanates warmth. As most women invariably do try to drag partners kicking and screaming to these kinds of movies, if you have any troubles quietly state there is a shower scene with Bullock (just forget to mention it is rated PG.)
Published: The Queanbeyan Age
Date of Publication: 19/06/2009