Since there have been so many formulaic romantic comedies, audiences should know exactly what they’re getting into. We know the two lovers will not like each other in the beginning, learn to love each other in the middle, something will happen to keep them apart towards the end, and then the movie will close with the two lovers living happily ever after. But like a mindless action film or a slasher horror film, there are movies who follow the formula well and those that make us groan at every given moment. Surprisingly enough, THE PROPOSAL was a pretty good, if not predictable, romantic comedy. But keep in mind, it’s a sliding scale.
The queen of romantic comedies, Sandra Bullock, stars as Margaret Tate. Margaret is a ruthless publisher in New York City, content on living alone and dominating her profession. Andrew Paxton (Ryan Reynolds) is her assistant, working a miserable job in hopes of one day becoming an editor. When Margaret is told she’s in jeopardy of being deported back to Canada, she convinces Andrew to marry her, thus legitimizing her otherwise illegal residence in the United States. Every romantic comedy has to have a “bad guy” and in this case, Denis O’Hare stars as Mr. Garrison, who is intent on proving the engagement is a sham.
Pressured by Mr. Garrison to prove they’re a legit couple, Margaret and Andrew fly up to Alaska to visit Andrew’s family. This is where the story actually begins and we get the prerequisite conflict and eventual resolution. Throw in a yipping dog, an old lady and an ex girlfriend and you have the standard fare for romantic comedies. I wouldn’t say anything sets this one apart from the countless other rom-coms we’ve seen over the years, but what I will say is that I found both Bullock and Reynolds to be very charming in their respective roles and that made the film enjoyable for me.
I know people that love Sandra Bullock and eat up everything she does. I don’t mind her, but I do find her hit or miss with her rom-coms. She teeters on that line between eccentric and annoying, and how well she balances that act can make or break the film. THE PROPOSAL reminded me a lot of TWO WEEKS NOTICE, except that I couldn’t stand her in TWO WEEKS NOTICE and I found her charming in THE PROPOSAL. Reynolds’ performance shouldn’t be overlooked either; he did a fine job and most of the laughs from the movie came because of something he did or in the way he delivered a line.
Overall, I think most people will enjoy THE PROPOSAL, even if you feel like you’ve seen it before when the credits roll. Bullock and Reynolds play very likable characters and the story moves fast enough to keep your attention. It probably won’t make you laugh out loud or incite any other emotions, but it will give you plenty of “awwwwww” moments.