By Fred Topel | Images property of Touchstone Pictures
Since all The Proposal wants to be is adorable, it does that just fine. I don’t think it would pretend to have anything to say about the condition of relationships, or the sophistication of comedy. It just wants to be another romantic comedy, so without pretension, it fulfills its role for its audience, even if it doesn’t try to surpass anything.
Review: The Proposal
You first see Margaret Tate (Sandra Bullock) fake biking with a screen showing pretend nature footage. That’s how they show how busy she is. Andrew Paxton (Ryan Reynolds) is late but the coffee girl has his order because it’s routine. Tough boss Tate scares everyone and they have cute little codes for her that they IM to each other.
Of course, Tate is never so mean that she’s not cute. She is adorable powering over her underlings. Paxton handles her well, with humor, honesty and most importantly drive. This is better than The Devil Wears Prada, because he wants to earn it. He doesn’t resent his status.
The film gets to the hook quickly and they set up the tools for each character to use against each other. She needs a marriage for citizenship. He needs a promotion and he knows more about her than she does about him, so the balance of power shifts. They have fun playing with it.
The mechanics of the story are contrived. She’s trying to get a reclusive author to go on Good Morning America, so there is an important business distraction during the family gathering. Setting the family in Alaska is forced quirky. It’s so outside any common experience, they get away with doing comedy stunts instead of dealing with the real problems of marrying your boss, lying to your family and even developing an actual relationship.
The set pieces are contrived, but again, cute. The film would rather sick a gay stripper on Bullock, do boat stunts and talk about a baby blanket that’s said to help couples make babies. Yeah, really clever stuff, but this is what we expect and presumably what we go to this movie to see. You want to see Sandra Bullock dance hip hop just because it’s a comedian playing a corporate book editor.
Bullock has never looked better. She looks really pretty in all those corporate suits and skirts, and I’m a sucker for those pony tails. Then she wears a sexy nightie and looks her hottest ever. Her nude scene shows a strong, toned body glistening with just the naughtiest parts covered. It’s a bold nude scene for an A-list actor and as meaningless as it is, I applaud it.
Sandra Bullock likes to say that The Proposal is not a romantic comedy, but it is. It’s just like her biggest hits, which is to say that despite totally fulfilling its genre, it’s slightly better than it deserves to be. Miss Congeniality, Two Weeks Notice, Miss Congeniality 2 and now The Proposal.