Casting Ryan Reynolds and Sandra Bullock in a romantic comedy together is almost unfair, as the two are probably the most likable actors in Hollywood. It’s like making a YouTube video of a cat playing a violin while Tay Zonday and the Numa Numa kid sing background vocals and expecting it to not get over a million views.
Sandra Bullock has long been “America’s Sweetheart” since before I was born, and I think there are only a handful of people on the planet who don’t like Ryan Reynolds, and that’s just because they’re jealous that he goes home and uses Scarlett Johansson’s cleavage as a therapeutic neck pillow every night.
But the fact remains that the two of them have been forced into a protypical “unlikely scenario” rom com, and even their likability shouldn’t be able to save the tired concept of “two people who hate each other are forced together through absurd events and end up falling in love.” There have been so many of those movies made I think that sentence has its own Wikipedia entry.
The wacky premise this time is that Margaret Tate (Sandra Bullock) is a citizen of the Great White North (Canada), who is about to be deported because of…something, and her last ditch attempt to save her big time publishing job is to say that she’s engaged to her personal assistant, Andrew (Ryan Reynolds).
Well, the US government isn’t convinced this is all on the level, and it is somehow decreed that unless she goes on a weekend getaway to meet his parents in Alaska, she’ll be escorted out of the country and Andrew will go to jail.
“Here’s Betty White feeling up Sandra Bullock” is a sentence I never thought I’d write.
So the two head out to meet his family, who as it turns out, are the equivalent of the Alaskan Kennedys who own everything in the entire town, including a giant mansion. The two have to spend the weekend not killing each other and convincing Andrew’s family that it is in fact, true love.
Though this is a pretty dumb idea initially, The Proposal does pack in a surprising amount of pretty classic scenes along the way. The highlight is probably Sandra Bullock’s booty shaking rendition of Lil Jon’s “Yeah” (set to tribal drums), and other gags grow on you with time, like the constant resurgence of The Office’s Oscar Nunez as the town’s Mexican immigrant who has every job from waiter to stripper to minister.
There are some moments of actual emotion in the film as well, as Bullock and Reynolds are far better actors than say, McConaughey and Hudson. It’s a film mostly about the transformation of Bullock, from a friendless, family-less uptight shrew to an accepted member of Andrew’s Alaskan clan.
It would be nice if the plot of the film wasn’t so formulaic, and as per the rules of these type of movies, Margaret is gripped by conscience and reveals the whole plot. I suppose it’s necessary to move things forward, but in reality, it’s a blindingly selfish act as it relieves her guilt by telling the truth, but destroys Andrew’s reputation and levels his entire family. That’s what you do to someone you love!
But despite the fact that The Proposal is bound by the strict and unflinching rules of the genre, it does a good job creating laughs and genuine touching moments throughout the film. It’s not reinventing the wheel, but two inescapably likable leads make it a date movie worth seeing.
3 out of 5 stars
Go Oscar! Go Oscar!