The Proposal – Movie Review

The Proposal is the story of ice queen Margaret Tate (Sandra Bullock – Speed, Demolition Man) and her lackey, Executive Assistant Andrew Paxton (Ryan Reynolds – Van Wilder) who hatch a scheme to keep Margaret in the USA after her Canadian visa expires. Faced with deportation and losing the job she loves, Margaret convinces her bosses that she has been dating her assistant and that the two are engaged to be married.

The couple has to convince Mr. Gilbertson (Denis O’Hare), the official at the INS, that the engagement is real and not some ruse designed to keep Tate in the country. Along the way, they must also convince Andrew’s family that the boss he formerly hated is now his new love interest, and bride to be.

Over the weekend of his grandmother’s 90th birthday, Andrew has to acclimate himself to the family Margaret has estranged him from in return for the big promotion and chance to be published she promises. He and Margaret exchange the cold, calculating, corporate world of their New York publishing workplace for the nonstop sunlight and natural beauty of Andrew’s hometown of Sitka, Alaska. Margaret has to keep up the charade as long as she can at the risk of losing the career she worked so hard to obtain, despite being displaced and surrounded by everything she hates (nature and people), and disarmed by the realization that the humble Andrew is someone other than her office bitch-boy.

Although the premise is ripe for a very funny romantic comedy, the plot is formulaic. But, at the end of the day, who cares? The film is genuinely funny, and will not disappoint anyone in the crowd who has a sense of humor. The notion of marrying someone you barely know might scare most dudes away, but the film is a winner. The chemistry that develops between Bullock and Reynolds is organic, and grows with the story, despite the predictable outcome. Her physical comedy skills are used to full capacity, and create great moments where she may flail around naked (don’t get your hopes up, strategically placed hands and washcloths hide the goods), or offer an adorable puppy as a sacrifice to a pair of hungry eagles, or sing about the sweat running down her balls while shaking her ass in the middle of a Native American ceremony. His sarcastic delivery gives audiences the Ryan Reynolds they love to see, and reminds this observer that his best work is the natural performance of his subdued deadpan, and not the psychotic killer from The Amityville Horror we would all like to forget.

The best moments don’t come from either Bullock or Reynolds, and instead TV legend Betty White (Golden Girls, Boston Legal) is given the best one-liners – “Do you prefer to be called Margaret, or Satan’s Mistress?” Breakout TV star Oscar Nuñez (The Office) is probably the most funny character as Ramone, who spends his time serving drinks, stripping to Frankie Goes To Hollywood’s “Relax”, and officiating the sham wedding.

The Proposal is, for all intents and purposes, a chick flick that follows the same road map as most romantic comedies. What sets this one apart from the crowd, and makes it watchable for guys, is the unconventional humor that seems more appropriate for a bromance, rather than a date movie. Never mind the fact that Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman, the screenwriters from Star Trek and /i>The Transformers franchise, are the Executive Producers. They obviously know a good screenplay when they see one. This is one comedy that is a departure from the movies our girlfriends drag us to, and more like the ones we make them watch. If you have to watch a romantic comedy this summer, don’t miss this one.

Cast

Sandra Bullock … Margaret Tate
Ryan Reynolds … Andrew Paxton
Mary Steenburgen … Grace Paxton
Craig T. Nelson … Joe Paxton
Betty White … Grandma Annie
Denis O’Hare … Mr. Gilbertson
Malin Akerman … Gertrude
Oscar Nuñez … Ramone
Aasif Mandvi … Bob Thurber

Theatrical Release 19 June 2009
Touchstone Pictures