Film review: The Proposal (2009), directed by Anne Fletcher
Margaret Tate (Sandra Bullock) is an intimidating editor at a big publishing house in New York. Andrew Paxton (Ryan Reynolds) is her put-upon assistant. When Margaret, a Canadian national, is threatened with deportation due to certain issues with her visa application, which also means she’ll be out of a job, she makes up a story to management of how she’s marrying Andrew. Andrew goes along with it because he wants to keep his job.
Because immigration, fronted by a Mr Gilbertson (Denis O’Hare), isn’t convinced the sudden engagement is real, the would-be couple decide to have a weekend together before they need to convince immigration that their love is real.
The weekend is spent with Andrew’s family up in a remote part of Alaska (Sitka to be precise), because it’s Grandma Annie’s (Betty White) 90th birthday party. To Andrew’s parents (Mary Steenburgen and Craig T Nelson), and everyone else, Andrew and Margaret might seem to be the perfect couple, but in reality of course they hate each other.
You can never guess what’s going to happen.
Also starring Malin Akerman as Andrew’s high school sweetheart Gertrude, Oscar Nuñez as Ramone, Aasif Mandvi as Bob Spaulding, and Michael Nouri (NCIS) as Chairman Bergen.
The Proposal is a romantic comedy where you know exactly what’s going to happen. The workaholic bitch has her spiky edges smoothed, and she realises her assistant is actually a really nice guy. In turn the assistant is not some Average Joe on home turf, and he too comes to realise that his boss is a lovely person deep down.
If you’ve ever seen Green Card, it’s almost – but not quite – entirely unlike that. For one, this is a run-of-the-mill romcom, which means you’re guaranteed a happy ending. I love happy endings. I also love beautiful scenery, and The Proposal has a lot of that, even if it was filmed off the coast of Massachusetts rather than, you know, Alaska.
Betty White is amazing. She makes the kooky granny character really come to life, even if you think there’s no way she could ever be 90 years old, what with dancing around fires and all. Sandra Bullock is such a versatile actress and I love her for it. She can do serious films just as convincingly as she can do downright silly films. Here she’s something akin to The Taming of the Shrew, although Margaret is much more easily tamed, as it were. The backstory that would explain why she’s such a pain feels a little unconvincing perhaps, because why can’t people be total bitches just because they want to be? Why do they always need to have a Tragic Past™ that Made Them That Way? And all they really need is the Love of a Good Man to make them human again? I mean, really?!
If you don’t mind knowing exactly how it’s going to end straight from the get-go, then this is a film to see. It’s amusing, sometimes even properly funny, but most of the time I was wondering what day they actually set off from the Big City to make it add up to the number of days they portrayed vs having to be back at the Immigration Office on Monday. I guess the paperwork to fill out before you can get married in the States is different from what it is here, because apparently, you can arrange a legally valid wedding at the drop of a hat over there. (Although, the drive-through weddings of Las Vegas should’ve made that blatantly obvious, come to think of it.)
Why I haven’t said anything about Ryan Reynolds? Because I keep picturing him as a jock teenager. Also, there was an adorable white fluffball of a dog present throughout the film, and I’m sorry, Ryan. You’re a hunk, but if I got to choose between you and an American Eskimo puppy, I’d choose the puppy, even though it would probably make me sneeze.
3 out of 5 boats.