Sunday, July 5, 2009

'The Proposal' Movie Review

Sandra Bullock and Ryan Reynolds in The Proposal

Ryan Reynolds and Sandra Bullock in 'The Proposal.

Sometimes chemistry can trump originality, as in the case of The Proposal . This romantic comedy from Peter Chiarelli and directed by Anne Fletcher is rife with rom com clichés down to its 'wrapped up in a tidy bow' Hollywood ending any novice to the genre could have seen coming a mile away. Yet despite the fact The Proposal is predictable and
stuffed with recycled schtick, it's surprisingly enjoyable and completely charming. If it was a baby, you'd want to pinch its little cheek - it's that cute. Sandra Bullockhad all but sworn off romantic comedies, but fans of the genre should feel fortunate she gave in and did The Proposal. It's been a while since Bullock played a character this much fun to watch. Teaming up with Ryan Reynolds for the first time brought out the best in Bullock, and it made Reynolds come across as even more charismatic than usual.

The Story

In a scene reminiscent of Meryl Streep's grand entry in The Devil wears Prada, the witchy, bitchy Margaret (Bullock) makes her way through the office as her employees cower in terror. Margaret's one of the most powerful book editors in the business and she doesn't tolerate anything less from perfection from her underlings. And it's her personal assistant, Andrew (Reynolds), who suffers the brunt of Margaret's wrath when things are even slightly out of line.

For three, long, grueling years in which he worked weekends, missed out on family gatherings, and was generally miserable as hell, Andrew suffered and put up with everything Margaret dished out, all the while holding out hope that one day it would all be worthwhile when she promotes him to editor. But nothing in those three incredibly difficult years prepared Andrew for Margaret's latest and greatest demand: marry her or lose his job. Seems Margaret is Canadian and she's been working in this country without the proper visa. In order to keep her high-powered position in the firm - and to stay in NY - she tells her bosses she and Andrew have secretly been dating and are now engaged to be married.

Sandra Bullock and Oscar Nunez in The Proposal
Oscar Nunez and Sandra Bullock in 'The Proposal.'

Once Andrew recovers from shock, he agrees to be Margaret's partner in crime but with a few stipulations of his own. First, he wants the manuscript he's been pushing to be published. And he wants a guarantee that he'll be promoted in the very near future. And finally, he wants Margaret to get down on her knees in public to ask for his hand in marriage. Margaret agrees, and it's off to Sitka, Alaska to meet her future in-laws.

The weekend getaway will also provide the 'engaged' couple with the opportunity to share personal details they'll need to know about each other in order to effectively convince the immigration investigator their relationship's not a sham. But, since this is a rom com, once in Alaska Margaret's icy facade begins to melt. And Andrew, who has real issues with his dad, emerges as someone Margaret could actually care for. Throw in a sassy 90 year old grandmother who wants to see her only grandchild married before she passes away along with Margaret's growing affection for the guy she's bossed around for years, and this mini-vacation turns out to be so much more complicated and confusing than the work-obsessed illegal alien had ever anticipated.

The Cast

Sandra Bullock and Ryan Reynolds make for a formidable team in The Proposal. These two play so well off of each other, we can only hope they'll find another project in which to share the screen - though preferably in one not quite so formulaic. Any decent adult comedy (even of the non-romantic type) would benefit from a Bullock/Reynolds pairing.

W.C. Fields' saying should be amended to "never work with kids, animals or Betty White." In The Proposal White's a scene-stealing senior citizen who pulls the rug out from underneath her co-stars while playing a snappy, spunky, irrepressible granny. Mary Steenburgen and Craig T Nelson are good as Andrew's parents, and Malin Akerman livens up the romantic storyline by showing up in a few scattered scenes as Andrew's ex. Also showing up here and there throughout the film is The Office's Oscar Nuñez . Nuñez is a jack of all trades in The Proposal, playing waiter, store clerk, and the only stripper in the town of Sitka. He's terrific and doesn't overdo it, not even when he's performing nearly naked in Bullock's face, giving her an eye-full of Oscar she'll likely never forget.

Sandra Bullock and Betty White
Betty White gets touchy-feely with Sandra Bullock in 'The Proposal.

The Bottom Line

The Proposal is everything those who hate romantic comedies loathe. But for moviegoers who like their films light and fluffy - and don't care if a movie doesn't reinvent the wheel in the process of being entertaining - then The Proposal is just the ticket. A great date movie that's not too sappy, The Proposal is pure escapist fun.


The Proposal was directed by Anne Fletcher and is rated PG-13 for sexual content, nudity and language.

Theatrical Release Date: June 19, 2009


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