Rising and fading stars converge in The Proposal, a pretty typical romantic comedy from the director of 27 Dresses and Step Up. And yet, just like Anne Fletcher's other films, there's something that just works about the movie.
Ryan Reynolds, who after years of circling mainstream exposure finally burst onto the scene with such 2009 hits as X-Men: Wolverine and this film (and has subsequently been given his own Deadpool and Green Lantern movies), stars as Andrew Paxton, a young, ambitious man who's worked as an assistant to a bitch of a boss, Margaret Tate (Sandra Bullock). Margaret has ruled his life with an iron fist, but when she learns that she is to be deported to Canada, she finds herself as Andrew's mercy. Though the government suspects their deception, the two head off for a weekend with Andrew's family in preparation for the big day: their sudden wedding.
The Proposal is your standard romantic comedy: the two leads hate each other and due to a goofy premise, they slowly warm to one another. Some conflict arises, the two go their separate ways, and then the man has to chase the woman down to confess his true feelings. Yep, pretty standard. Still, as mentioned earlier, The Proposal clicks more often than not. Writer Pete Chiarelli has devised a decent screenplay with enough funny lines and moments to string audiences along. Bullock, an unlikely candidate to play a cold boss-witch, is actually quite good, and Reynolds is as enjoyable as always, bringing his ability to deliver sarcastic one-liners with him. The Proposal benefits from the odd chemistry the two have.
Nevertheless, The Proposal suffers from a stereotypical third act that doesn't live up to what's presented earlier. This is one of those rare romantic comedies that could have actually worked had the two leads not gotten together at the end. In fact, it would have felt much more natural. While Bullock and Reynolds have good comedic chemistry together, their romantic chemistry isn't nearly so strong; they're funny, but it's hard to see them as anything more than that. The transition from enemies to lovers is pretty questionable, and The Proposal would have been much more satisfying had Chairelli and Fletcher taken things in a more believable direction.
Beyond the sketchy romance that evolves in the final act, The Proposal also becomes dull as it nears the end. Its cleverness fades as it becomes more and more routine. There aren't many funny moments in the final moments, and the romantic reunion isn't anything to scream home about.
And still, The Proposal is a generally entertaining romantic comedy with enough laughs to keep both guys and girls engaged. Bullock still looks in form, and Reynolds shows that he can headline a major release. Betty White is also a show stealer in many of her scenes. Recommended.
The Blu-Ray includes outtakes, as well as an alternative ending and some deleted scenes, all with optional commentary. The only item exclusive to the Blu-Ray is an additional deleted scene - wow. Strangely, when I started the film, it defaulted to subtitles of the director's commentary, which, in fact, made the movie all that more amusing.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.
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