Before it even begins, we know how The Proposal is going to end. The charm of this film is not in it’s story, but in the onscreen chemistry between Sandra Bullock and Ryan Reynolds (as well as the presence of Betty White, which is good for any film), who managed to breathe a semblance of life into an otherwise tired plot.
Margaret Tate (Sandra Bullock) is the boss from hell. Employees avoid her at all costs and even send instant messages to warn each other of her arrival. Andrew Paxton (Ryan Reynolds) is Margaret’s assistant who orders his coffee the same as hers so he can replace it if he spills hers, which he does. However, the tides turn when the Canadian Margaret learns her work visa is not being renewed, causing her to be deported and lose her editing job in the process. In a moment of desperation, she elects Andrew to marry her, therefore allowing her to stay in the country. One problem though, INS smells fraud, so to prove their sincerity they head off to spend a few days with Andrew’s family, who happen to live in Sitka, Alaska, where Paxton is, as Margaret puts it, “An Alaskan Kennedy”. I won’t bore you with the rest of the plot, as you’ve surely already guessed what happens from here on out.
The Proposal starts out like a second rate version of The Devil Wears Prada (2006). There’s the angry demanding boss, and the all-too-eager-to-please assistant, except in The Proposal, Bullock is not believable as the heartless, demanding, threatening bitch. As the film moves on and she begins to warm up to Andrew, her character begins to bloom, and we see the Sandra Bullock we’ve come to know and love (or hate). Ryan Reynolds is playing a toned down version of the character he usually plays, with more romance and less hamming it up. Watching Reynolds, you have to ask if he’s the bastard child of Chevy Chase. He has a similar acting style, onscreen presence, and even resembles the guy. He’d be a good selection for remakes of the National Lampoon’s Vacation films (although I do not condone such remakes).
Enough of my daydreaming, other noteworthy performances come from the great Betty White and Oscar Nunez (from the TV series, The Office), who both bring an added element of enjoyment, and often discomfort, each time either of them are onscreen.
With the typical fish-out-of-water story, Andrew uses this to his advantage to get back at Margaret for all the mistreatment he’s suffered by her hand for the past three years. You’d expect the same tired jokes at this point, and yes, we get a few of those, but surprisingly, there are a lot of great one liners delivered by Reynolds, and Bullock knows how to role with the punches.
The Proposal isn’t going to wow you with it’s inventiveness, but it works as a lighthearted romantic comedy with a good cast, and some funnier than expected moments, plus we get to see Sandra Bullock mostly naked.
Director: Anne Fletcher
Writer: Pete Chiarelli
Cast: Sandra Bullock, Ryan Reynolds, Mary Steenburgen, Craig T. Nelson, Betty White
Runtime: 108 minutes