THE PROPOSAL Movie Review
Independent Films, Interviews
In “The Proposal,” Sandra Bullock returns to the genre that she does best – romantic comedy. But the actress politely corrected me when I interviewed her for “The Proposal.” She said the film is not a romantic comedy, “just a comedy period.”
Bullock says, “It drives me insane when movies are called romantic comedies when most of them are neither romantic nor funny. ‘The Proposal’ is a funny comedy.” She’s absolutely right about that last statement. The film is very funny indeed.
Directed by ex-choreographer Anne Fletcher, “The Proposal” has an infectious rhythm that will keep your interest all the way up to the predictable ending. Sure, the film is formulaic but at least the filmmakers have the winning formula down pat. The movie made me giggle like a blushing bride.
Bullock stars as high-powered New York book editor Margaret Tate. Much like Meryl Streep’s character in “The Devil Wears Prada,” Margaret is a terror to work for. “The Proposal” even pays homage to Streep’s dramatic entrance in the 2006 film. As soon as Margaret enters the building, her employees start sending instant messages to one another saying “the witch is on her broom.”
It’s a big dilemma for Andrew Paxton (Ryan Reynolds) to work as the witchy Margaret’s executive assistant. He’s an ambitious book lover who knows that working for his demanding boss may pay career dividends later on. But little does Andrew know, he will be the one who will save Margaret’s career.
Margaret, a Canadian citizen, is being investigated by the immigration office. But before being deported, the quick-thinking executive declares that she’s actually engaged to her unsuspecting put-upon assistant. Andrew agrees to participate in the charade, but with a few conditions of his own.
The film’s main conceit of duping the U.S. immigration through arranged marriage would not have worked as a comedy if not for the incredible chemistry between Bullock and Reynolds, and the talented supporting cast.
Mary Steenburgen and Craig T. Nelson credibly play Andrew’s rich parents from Alaska but the film has many scene stealers. Among them are Betty White as the loveably sassy Gammy Annie, and Denis O’Hare as the tough as nails immigrant officer who’s out to get Margaret. But the actor that gets the most laughs is Oscar Nunez from “The Office.” He plays Sitka, Alaska’s sole male stripper, waiter, store clerk, and resident pastor.
The script by Peter Chiarelli is smart and funny. Bullock’s meaty role is traditionally a male character in the romantic comedy genre but the gender switch benefits the film’s narrative arc.
In the end, “The Proposal” is best celebrated as a Sandra Bullock film. The actress is a fine comedienne in the tradition of Lucille Ball. Bullock knows how to instill heart to a project even though some of her scenes are slapstick at best. After depressing the heck out of us in films such as “The Lake House” and “Premonition,” “The Proposal” is definitely a welcomed treat!
The actress is even game to appear near-naked with the similarly under-dressed Reynolds. “Ryan is so muscular and hard that I tried to be soft and juicy,” Bullock jokes. “We should go on tour and call ourselves hard and juicy,” the actress continues.
“The Proposal” is one of those nice summer movie surprises. Just when I was ready to give up on romantic comedies, along came this funny and sweet movie. Yes, I’m calling this film a romantic comedy, with or without Bullock’s approval.
And for that, “The Proposal” gets 3 Say I Do kisses
Year of Production: 2009
Country: United States