The Proposal (2009)

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What do you get when you take Miss Congeniality and Van Wilder in the same film as one of the Golden Girls? One of the funniest romantic comedies of the year.

Sandra Bullock plays Margaret Tate, a Canadian-born book editor who is known for her crazy temper and keeps her staff in check. While he does get annoyed with her ways of working, her assistant Andrew Paxton stays loyal in hopes that he does make it as a book editor and even an author one day.

When Margaret learns she may end up being deported due to a failure to renew her visa to work in the United States, she comes up with a plan. She pretends to be engaged to Andrew. Andrew agrees on the condition that he gets his manuscript published and they head to Andrew’s family’s home in the small town…very small town of Sitka, Alaska.

This is where the fun begins. Andrew’s family is somewhat famous in Sitka, having a variety of local shops with the Paxton name. Andrew’s eccentric grandmother is about to turn 90. While Andrew goes along with the plan, he still has some sort of family issues involving his father, who expects more from Andrew. Meanwhile, as the weekend goes on, Margaret, who has never had a real family experience, begins to envy Andrew for the love his mother and grandmother have given not only him, but to her as well. Wiil Margaret really begin to have feelings for Andrew or will somehow the plan they hatched be jeopardized?

There is just something with romantic comedies this year. There was the “bromantic” comedy I Love You Man that was a hit film and now comes this film that shows some very funny on-screen chemistry between lead actors Sandra Bullock and Ryan Reynolds. Bullock is the very straight edge hard-at-work dominant woman of the so-called “engagement” while Reynolds steps back from bringing that sarcastic type of humor he played out in Van Wilder and more recently, X-Men Origins: Wolverine, as the quiet yet loyal assistant who must act as the fiance.

Over the course of the film, Reynolds’ character begins to gain a sense of confidence as he knows he is the only one who can prevent Bullock’s character from getting deported back to Canada. Yet at the same time, she tends to make some pretty good comebacks to Andrew’s “confident” manners. In one memorable scene, to show their relationship in front of his mother and grandmother, Andrew hugs Margaret and pats her on the bottom with Margaret threatening that if he touches her there again, she will pull a Lorena Bobbitt on him. Need I say more? Then of course, the famous scene where Andrew and Margaret accidentally bump into each other while both are fully nude…sorry, no nudity is shown, but seeing them both freak out at this is funny enough.

Betty White, famous for the series The Golden Girls, practically steals her scenes from anyone she is involved with. If one thought she brought our some craziness in the horror film Lake Placid, she ups the ante here as Andrew’s grandmother. She tends to bring more sarcasm to the role as well as one memorable scene where she believes in spiritualism and does a dance which seeing her do it, is just flat out hysterical. She also tends to be the pivotal role when it comes to the somewhat damaged relationship between Andrew and his hard-nosed, stubborn father, played well by veteran Craig T. Nelson.

Of course, this being a film about a plan involving two opposites, someone who has seen their fair share of rom-coms know what to expect, yet it is the chemistry between Sandra Bullock and Ryan Reynolds, not to mention Betty White’s scene stealing performance that makes The Proposal one of the above average rom-coms this year.

WFG Rating: A

Touchstone Pictures presents a Mandeville Films production in association with K/O Paper Products. Director: Anne Fletcher. Producers: David Hoberman and Todd Lieberman. Writer: Peter Chiarelli. Cinematography: Oliver Stapleton. Editing: Priscilla Nedd-Friendly.

Cast: Sandra Bullock, Ryan Reynolds, Betty White, Craig T. Nelson, Mary Steenburgen, Denis O’Hare, Malin Åkerman, Oscar Nuñez, Aasif Mandvi, Michael Nouri.

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