In her romantic comedies, Sandra Bullock traditionally plays the wacky free spirit or the earnest do-gooder. She's the force of nature who gets the uptight Ben Affleck to loosen his tie, or the environmental activist who softens up a callous Hugh Grant. The Proposal tries to break new ground by having Bullock take on the role of the Type A -- the queen-bitch...read more
In her romantic comedies, Sandra Bullock traditionally plays the wacky free spirit or the earnest do-gooder. She's the force of nature who gets the uptight Ben Affleck to loosen his tie, or the environmental activist who softens up a callous Hugh Grant. The Proposal tries to break new ground by having Bullock take on the role of the Type A -- the queen-bitch big-city professional who needs to relax. And it works, kind of. It turns out that Bullock playing against type is the only original thing going on in the whole film.
Bullock plays Margaret Tate, the high-powered editor of a premier publishing house. Her executive assistant, Andrew Paxton (Ryan Reynolds), puts up with her dragon-lady attitude and workaholic schedule because he dreams of being an editor himself, even though he considers quitting almost every day, just because his boss is such a terror to work for. One day, Margaret, who it turns out is Canadian, learns from her boss that she has failed to fill out the appropriate immigration paperwork and will soon be deported -- forcing her to leave the company. In a flash of inspiration, Margaret tells her bosses that she and Andrew have fallen in love and plan to marry. After a brief interview with a suspicious INS officer, she and Andrew fly to Alaska in order to tell his parents about their engagement.
Of course, once they're in the small Alaskan town, we get to see the pampered city girl befuddled by the outdoors, as well as scene after scene of the hard-nosed Margaret withering in the face of quaint, folksy charm. And we learn that Andrew and his very wealthy father (Craig T. Nelson) are at each other's throats because Andrew doesn't want to take over the family business. And of course, slowly but surely, Margaret and Andrew open up to each other and actually fall in love.
Here's the problem with a movie as formulaic as The Proposal: anybody who wants to see it already knows exactly how everything will play out, right down to the identity of the person who performs their wedding ceremony. Odds are strong that the core audience for this movie doesn't want to be surprised anyway, but unfortunately the obviousness of everything makes it a snoozefest for anybody else. As hard as Bullock and the cast try to inject a His Girl Friday or It Happened One Night level of screwball energy to the opening New York scenes, The Proposal never differentiates itself enough from the modern rom-com pack to stick in your memory.
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