‘The Proposal’ a Marriage of Talents From Ryan Reynolds, Sandra Bullock

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Average: 4.1 (7 votes)
HollywoodChicago.com Oscarman rating: 3.0/5.0
Rating: 3.0/5.0

CHICAGO – At some point in our lives, most of us have had to reach beyond our job descriptions to appease a demanding boss. Common themes from making coffee to picking up dry cleaning are familiar and often tolerated as one strives to “get ahead”.

But what would happen if you arrived at work to find that your boss was requesting… marriage? What then?

Ryan Reynolds (left) and Sandra Bullock in The Proposal
Ryan Reynolds (left) and Sandra Bullock in “The Proposal”.
Photo credit: Kerry Hayes, SMPSP, Touchstone Pictures

Such a demand is placed on Andrew Paxton (Ryan Reynolds of “Definitely, Maybe” and “Van Wilder”) as his Canadian uber-boss Margaret Tate (Sandra Bullock of “Miss Congeniality” and “Speed”) is informed that she will be deported lest her status quickly changes. Though not without protest, Andrew agrees to her “proposal” of marriage and the two embark on the adventure of pulling off faux love and a sham engagement.

The film has an “uh-oh” start as Bullock plays a unidimensional, too-frigid and too-forced Margaret. Her supporting office workers scurry about Bullock in silly ways and overplay reactions to their mega-menacing boss.

However, an amusing and snarky chemistry begins to develop between the “happy couple”. One forgets Reynolds is acting as he creates the pressured yet charming Andrew. Bullock soon catches up with a multi-layered, all-too-relatable Margaret.

Sandra Bullock in The Proposal
Sandra Bullock in “The Proposal”.
Photo credit: Kerry Hayes, SMPSP, Touchstone Pictures

Scenes begin to stand on their own out of sheer situational humor as – lying for the sake of their suspicious immigration agent Mr. Gilbertson (played by Dennis O’Hare of “Duplicity” and “Milk”) – the two play out their relationship in front of Andrew’s friends and family. Willing to bare it all for laughs, Reynolds and Bullock go so far as to build one awkward yet hysterical scene completely in the nude.

As for Andrew’s family, Mary Steenburgen (of “Four Christmases” and “Back to the Future Part III”) touches the audience as Andrew’s empty-nested mother. Craig T. Nelson (of the “Coach” television series) appears as Andrew’s father disconnected from his role as he is from his son.

As always, Betty White (as Andrew’s Grandma Annie) is adorable with a “golden” touch to her every scene. From spicing up an exotic dance to stomping out a rain dance, White is a shimmy to the screen.

Sandra Bullock (left) and Betty White in The Proposal
Sandra Bullock (left) and Betty White in “The Proposal”.
Photo credit: Kerry Hayes, SMPSP, Touchstone Pictures

An additional gold star goes to the casting choice of Oscar Nuñez, who is known for his work on “The Office”. The go-to guy for literally everything in the isolated Alaskan town, the mere appearance of Nuñez on the screen elicits a laugh.

Despite its rough start, strengths of this picture lie both within the writing of Peter Chiarelli and within the direction of Ann Fletcher (of “27 Dresses”). The two accomplish creative, new-to-the-screen plotlines that overlap with ease.

StarRead more film reviews from critic Elizabeth Oppriecht.

While “The Proposal” does amount to a predictable yet pleasant tale, this is to be expected in this type of film whose target audience is not looking for a challenge.

A mix of something old with something new and some things borrowed with some blue comedy, “The Proposal” proves to be a marriage of talents that amounts to a fun and pleasant night at the movies.

“The Proposal” from director Ann Fletcher stars Sandra Bullock, Ryan Reynolds, Malin Akerman (of “Watchmen”), Craig T. Nelson, Betty White, Mary Steenburgen, Denis O’Hare, Oscar Nuñez and Aasif Mandvi. “The Proposal,” which opened on June 19, 2009 nationwide, is rated “PG-13” for sexual content, nudity and language.

Elizabeth Oppriecht


© 2009 Elizabeth Oppriecht, HollywoodChicago.com

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