When high-powered book editor Margaret (Sandra Bullock) faces deportation to her native Canada, she quickly declares she's actually engaged to her unsuspecting put-upon assistant Andrew (Ryan Reynolds), who she's tormented for three long years. He agrees to participate in the charade, but with a few conditions of his own. The unlikely couple heads to Alaska to meet his quirky family (Mary Steenburgen, Craig T. Nelson, Betty White) and soon there is an impromptu wedding in the works as well as an immigration official on their tails.
Review by Louise Keller:
It's contrived and predictable, formulaic and derivative, yet The Proposal has its own charm. Star charisma is part of it, but there's an interesting dynamic between the two leads. The set up is fun, too. It doesn't really matter what you call it - after all this is not a film that stands up to too much scrutiny - the most important thing to know is that it is decidedly likeable, extremely escapist, and a perfect date movie. Or the kind of chick flick you might catch with a friend or go along by yourself, if you feel like running away from the world.
The plot? Well, it's like Greencard meets Made of Honour and, you guessed it, it's all about its two attractive stars Sandra Bullock and Ryan Reynolds, who are expert at milking the situation. The early scenes in New York that introduce us to Bullock's hard-nosed book editor Margaret and Reynolds' obliging doormat of an assistant Andrew are the film's weakest: Bullock is too nice to convince as the 'Witch on her broom'. It doesn't matter that we know what's going to happen. We want to see HOW it happens. And that's the fun. Blackmail works both ways and soon the awkward couple are on their way to Sitka, Alaska for a weekend with his folks. Hopefully this will give them time to brush up on all those little personal details about each other - allergies ('pine nuts and the whole spectrum of human emotions'), tattoos and other unmentionables. Then there's a role reversal: Margaret is now in Andrew's territory, where his family seem to own most of the town. She's a fish out of water, but we're told she can't swim - a fact we know we will be used somewhere in the storyline.
The picturesque coastal town of Sitka is gorgeous with its snow-capped mountains, crystal clear waters, quaint streets and ultra friendly people. There's a warmth that emanates from all the locals, especially Betty White's Grandma Annie, who is about to celebrate her 90th birthday. White (at the gracefully ripe age of 87) has such a lovely presence and the film is all the richer for her involvement, as her character plots and plans, fusses and even dresses up as an Indian Chief. Mary Steenburgen and Craig T. Nelson are solid as Andrew's parents and Oscar Nuñez nicely underplays his outrageous Ramone, who works at the local store, but (be warned) has two other part time jobs on the side. Directed by Anne Fletcher (27 Dresses), the script is by first time screenwriter Pete Chiarelli, who writes about the chaos within a family and the chaos for those without one. Bullock sulks sweetly in stilettos and thaws comically in the Alaskan chill, while Reynolds uses his deadpan comedic style with control. There's an amusing scene involving a canine ball of fluff called Heaven and other in which Bullock and Reynolds collide totally naked... As for the rest, well that would be telling.
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PROPOSAL, THE (PG)
CAST: Sandra Bullock, Ryan Reynolds, Mary Steenburgen, Craig T. Nelson, Betty White, Denis O'Hare, Malin Akerman
PRODUCER: David Loberman, Todd LOberman
DIRECTOR: Anne Fletcher
SCRIPT: Peter Chiarelli
CINEMATOGRAPHER: Oliver Stapleton
EDITOR: Priscilla Nedd-Friendly
MUSIC: Aaron Zigman
PRODUCTION DESIGN: Nelson Coates
RUNNING TIME: 107 minutes
AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Walt Disney Studios
AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: June 18, 2009