Thursday, July 30, 2009

THE PROPOSAL: By-The-Book Rom Com

THE PROPOSAL (romantic comedy)
Cast: Sandra Bullock, Ryan Reynolds, Mary Steenburgen, Craig T. Nelson, Betty White, Denis O'Hare and Malin Akerman,
Director: Anne Fletcher
Time: 108 mins
Rating: * * 1/2 (out of 4)

PREAMBLE: With a predictable premise and slurpy saccharine performances, viewers need time to warm up to The Proposal. Halfway through the film, however, it gets easier to absorb its brand of comedy and the laughs come naturally. It is nice to have Sandra Bullock back on the rom-com wagon - with Ryan Reynolds riding shotgun (both pictured above).

THE SKINNY: Canadian book editor Margaret Tate (Bullock) is such a tyrannical boss that she is nicknamed "Satan's Mistress". However, when an immigration crisis occurs, she persuades her assistant Andrew Paxton (Reynolds) into marrying her in order to maintain her visa status and avoid deportation from the US.

In order to fool the authorities, the pair take off to visit Andrew’s parents (Mary Steenburgen and Craig T. Nelson) in Alaska to announce their engagement - and throw an officious Immigration agent (Denis O'Hare) off the scent.

The rest is textbook rom-com stuff.

HITS & MISSES: Director Anne Fletcher (who gave us 27 Dresses) does an adequate job of telling the story, filming the scenic locales (with Massachusetts standing in for Alaska) and getting her money's worth of performances out of the cast. If you are looking for a sort of romance that will get the cockles of your heart warmed up, sorry, it's the wrong movie.

If you are looking for juicy plot twists or sentimental entanglements, sorry wrong movie. On the plus side, there are some funny moments, especially when the leads stumble into each other in states of undress; when Bullock gets to shake her buttocks in a nifty dance number; and in an amusing turnout by Betty White who gets all the good lines as Andrew's 80-year-old granny. The subplot with Malin Akerman as Andrew's old flame Gertrude is left underdeveloped. Thankfully, the main leads still manage to exude charm and keep us interested.

THE LOWDOWN: Mostly for die-hard romantics - and their happy-to-be-suffering-in-silence boyfriends.


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