Friday, July 3, 2009

The Proposal: Comic Love

We all know that most romantic comedies are the same: boy meets girl, they fall for each other, something tears them apart, and then they end up together by the end. There are only a handful, if that, of rom coms that don't follow this pattern. It's something a movie-goer accepts and even expects.

I didn't want to see The Proposal because I was hoping for a twist or a thrilling last act. I wanted to see it because I was in the mood for some silly love antics, and The Proposal delivered.

When Margaret (Sandra Bullock), a high-powered (read super-bitch) book editor, faces deportation to her native Canada as well as the loss of her job, she quickly declares that she’s actually engaged to her unsuspecting assistant Andrew (Ryan Reynolds), who she’s tormented for years. Andrew agrees to participate in the charade, mostly because he wants to keep his job and get a promotion, but also because he'll finally have the upper-hand in the relationship.

The unlikely couple heads to Alaska to meet Andrew's family--doting Mom (Mary Steenburgen), never-pleased dad (Craig T. Nelson), and cooky grandma (Betty White). With an impromptu wedding in the works and an asinine immigration official on their tails, Margaret and Andrew reluctantly vow to stick to the plan and start finding out more about each other than they ever could have discovered in the office.

A romantic comedy is sold by the stars. Ryan Reynolds and Sandra Bullock are both hilarious and have great chemistry. I figured I would laugh and have a good time, but I found myself outright guffawing at times. Reynolds has impeccable timing with snappy comebacks and witty asides, while Bullock's physical comedy will keep you snickering far longer than you should. And I must hand out serious props for her doing the nearly nude scene with the cute fluffy dog. There's no way I would have the guts to be basically naked and (purposefully) funny at the same time.

The supporting cast is good too. Craig T. Nelson is the proper never-satisfied dad while Mary Steenburgen calls up her role from Parenthood as the doting yet stern mom. And then there's Betty White. She is absolutely spectacular. I must agree with Clay Cane, of BET, who said, "Ms. Betty could be cast in a revival of New Jack City and you’d believe her in every frame." She's a loving and cooky grandmother who will speak her mind, dance with "exotic" dancers and chant over a bonfire in the middle of the woods...and I believed every minute. If I wasn't laughing at Margaret or Andrew, I was definitely laughing at Grandma Annie.

The Proposal is not amazing storytelling, in fact, the whole premise is a bit far-fetched, but the movie was never intended for serious study. It's fun, sweet, and a good time at the movies.

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