Oil meet water. Water, this is oil. The two of you don’t mix well, I know, but amazingly enough, you have more chemistry between the two of you than do the leads of The Proposal. Sure, the premise of the film is initially setup that way, but even after their heart felt metamorphoses they look about as comfortable kissing and hugging as I do when I’m forced to kiss my 76-year old mother-in-law.
Which is rather surprising because this romantic comedy has two seasoned veterans playing opposite each other. Sandra Bullock is Margaret Tate a ruthless, man handling executive editor in chief at Colden Books. Ryan Reynolds is her administrative assistant, Andrew Paxton. He and everyone else in the office is ecstatic when Margaret is set to be deported back to Canada due to her work visa lapsing. Andrew’s elation, however, is short lived when Margaret insists he marry her so she can stay in the country.
For the ruse to work, they go to Alaska to Andrew’s family’s home so they can rehearse the answers sure to be asked by Mr. Gilbertson (Denis O’Hare), a State Department representative who believes their upcoming nuptials are a scam. Everyone else thinks there is something fishy going on too, but that doesn’t stop mom and dad (Mary Steenburgen, Craig T. Nelson) from insisting (mom more so) that they get married immediately on the premises.
Aside from the obvious lack of romantic magnetism between the leads, The Proposal also lacks any comedic punch; thus completely removing the movie from the romantic comedy genre (this may be a first for Hollywood) altogether. That’s not to say director Anne Fletcher doesn’t at least try to squeak out a few jokes from the cast — she does. Based on the mismatch she goes for the gold hyping up the uncomfortableness felt by the “lovers” and all in eye sight. The highlight of this is the scene in which a naked Margaret (even though she’s aged a bit, Bullock is still holding it together) stumbles into a naked Andrew. Fletcher then goes hog wild pushing the risqué talk and actions out of the grandmother (Betty White). If you can’t have kids asking the sex questions or stepping through a ridiculous pregnancy dance type of thingy, then by golly have an 80-year old woman do it!
Needless to say, somewhere along the way the polar opposites find common ground and fall in love. You wouldn’t know how or why from watching the movie though — unless of course you figure a two-minute speech near the end of the 108 minute running time can right all the wrongs and magically make everything in the universe all fluffylike. Don’t be a fool though, the two minute speech is just smoke and mirrors — all involved just decided the natural progression for these kinds of flicks had to be followed, and so presto!, by the end of the movie they’re madly and truly in love.
Bleh. This is just lazy writing by first time screenwriter Pete Chiarelli and even lazier directing by Fletcher (who was also responsible for the mess that was 27 Dresses as well). My proposal to you is to skip The Proposal and find anything — that’s right, find absolutely anything else to do instead.