Thursday, January 30, 2014

The Proposal (2009) [PG-13] ***

Margaret Tate (Sandra Bullock) is a high-powered book editor for a Boston publishing firm. She's a cold-hearted, demanding boss who pushes her staff to the limit; she's tormented her assistant Andrew Paxton (Ryan Reynolds) for three years without ever expressing an interest in, or concern for, his personal life. Andrew is so terrified of Margaret that, for example, he orders the same designer coffee she orders, so he can give her his coffee if hers should spill.

But Margaret has a problem. She's Canadian, and while her visa renewal application was being processed she went on a business trip to Europe, a no-no that has resulted in her application being rejected. Due to be deported, and unable to work for an American company from Canada, the quick-thinking Margaret decides that Andrew is the solution to her problem, and all they have to do is get married. When Andrew demurs, Margaret tells him if he doesn't play along, her replacement will surely fire him out of spite. Andrew reluctantly agrees to participate in the charade, but when they explain their marriage plans to Margaret's immigration officer (Denis O'Hare) he's instantly suspicious and explains the consequences of immigration fraud, which include prison and a fine for Andrew.

Unwilling to give up an expected promotion, Andrew and Margaret proceed with their plan, which involves jetting off to Sitka, Alaska to tell Andrew's parents (Craig T. Nelson and Mary Steenburgen) the news, and to celebrate flinty Grandma Annie's (Betty White) 90th birthday. However, since Andrew has been complaining about Margaret ever since he started working for her, and since there appears to be little romance in their relationship, Andrew's family is understandably suspicious. Like a fish out of water, city-bred Margaret finds herself in one Alaskan comedic situation after another, and as Andrew's family starts planning an impromptu wedding, the couple is astonished to discover that they might actually be developing feelings for one another.

Directed by Anne Fletcher (27 Dresses) from a script by first-time writer Peter Chiarelli, this is a romantic comedy with precious little romance and barely more comedy, limited chemistry between Bullock and Reynolds and little originality in the screenplay. While Ryan Reynolds at least makes an effort, Sandra Bullock has simply phoned in her lackluster performance; she must have wondered what she was doing in this project. And, although the Alaskan scenery is beautiful, there's no memorable dialogue, the soundtrack is terrible, and the supporting talents of Nelson, Steenburgen, White and O'Hare are totally wasted, The story feels a bit like Green Card meets Two Weeks Notice; if you enjoyed those films, or 27 Dresses, and you are an uncritical fan of Bullock and Reynolds, you might be amused by The Proposal, but others should probably pass. 

Labels: comedy, drama, romance, wedding   
Internet Movie Database  
Metacritic 48/100  
RottenTomatoes Averages (critics=53,viewers=68) 

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