Movie Review: The Proposal
Release Date: June 19, 2009
Distributor: Buena Vista Pictures
· Anne Fletcher
· Sandra Bullock
· Ryan Reynolds
· Mary Steenburgen
· Craig T. Nelson
· Betty White
· Malin Akerman
· The Proposal Official MySpace Page
· IMDb: The Proposal
by Paulette Suhr
Published: June 15, 2009
Cheekbones. That was my initial thought as I sat through the first few minutes of "The Proposal." Sandra Bullock's cheekbones are a thing of beauty. The woman looks like she's been carved from a block of Italian marble.
In "The Proposal" she plays Margaret Tate, a woman carved from a block of ice, a Cruella de Vil type book editor who thrives on the fear and loathing of her underlings. Ryan Reynolds is Andrew, her used and abused assistant/secretary/Boy Friday. Andrew has aspirations to become both an author and an editor, and feels that gutting it out in his current position is the best way to advance his career.
The lovely Ms. Tate has just fired her second-in-command when she learns that due to a technicality, her visa has expired and she's being deported back to Canada. Work is her whole life and giving it up is not an option. On the spur of the moment she tells her boss that she and Andrew are secretly engaged, and so she can extend her stay via a fiancee visa.
Andrew reluctantly plays along when Margaret threatens to ruin his career, but not without making several demands of his own. The two head to Andrew's family home in Alaska to announce the news of their engagement and head off the suspicions of a malicious but amusing INS agent. Hilarity ensues.
At this point I am filled with questions. Does the US really deport Canadians? Do INS agents really follow people around hoping to catch them not having sex? Where the heck is Sitka, Alaska? Is Craig T. Nelson made of orange rock?
Much to my dismay, the movie answers none of these questions. Much to my surprise, what the movie does is entertain. I found myself laughing out loud during much of the film. The writing is genius in places, stepping outside the typical romantic comedy joke fodder for its laughs. Reynolds's facial expressions and dialogue delivery are excellent, not over the top but enough to elicit giggles from almost every line.
Sandra Bullock does an excellent job of playing a woman conflicted. When Margaret starts to actually see Andrew as more than just a latte-fetching whipping boy, we can see her begin to question her plan. We see her realize that what she's forcing him to do will hurt not just him, but also his entire family to whom she's grown attached. She transforms from cartoon villain to someone we can all relate to. At one point she says something like "I think it would just be easier if I went away and we forgot all of this even happened." Amen, sister. Who hasn't felt like that at least once?
I'm not a big fan of romantic comedies, but this one impressed me. Sure, it's a date movie, but it never degenerates into a cheesy chick flick. Most of the audience -- male and female -- clapped at the end, not because the airhead got eaten by a monster, not because someone got knocked the #$%@ out, but because the movie was actually decent. I couldn't help but nod along in approval.