Judge Eric Profancik is happy to feast at the banquet of Bullock, just don't expect him to tip.
Our review of The Proposal, published October 22nd, 2009, is also available.
Here comes the bribe…
Sometimes it's hard to be a single man, for every once in a blue moon you see a trailer for a romantic comedy that you wouldn't mind seeing. You know it's a chick flick but how can you rationalize going to see it sans a date? You don't. More often than not, that lack of a girlfriend saves you from seeing schmaltzy, syrupy, and sappy flicks. That was the case for me with The Proposal. I saw the trailer, thought it held a modicum of potential, contemplated a viewing, but then realized I'm single and would not be going. So here I am with the Blu-ray and the ability to watch a chick flick in the privacy of my man cave.
Facts of the Case
Margaret Tate (Sandra Bullock, Speed) is the book world's devil that wears nice clothing. Everyone in her office fears her, except her administrative assistant, Andrew (Ryan Reynolds, X-Men Origins: Wolverine). He doesn't fear her, but he's exhausted by the boss that is never happy, always wants something, and never gives any praise. But he has hopes of one day becoming an editor, and he thinks Margaret will give him future leverage.
One day Margaret is called into her boss's office to discover that she is to be deported…to Canada. Doing so would be the end of her career. At that moment Andrew walks in to extract Margaret from the meeting, but Margaret comes up with the idea that she and Andrew are engaged. Thus, via marriage, she can stay in America.
Immediately immigration officials are suspicious of the engagement, and they will give the couple a thorough interview next Monday. If they pass, they can get married. If they don't, the two will face deportation and/or jail time. This weekend Andrew is going to fly home to Alaska to celebrate Granny Annie's (Betty White, The Golden Girls) 90th birthday. Now he's flying home with Margaret where the two will use the party to get to know each other and surprise his family with the sudden nuptials.
Will the lovebirds be able to pull it all off?
It's The Devil Wears Prada meets Green Card. The Proposal doesn't have an original thought in it, being just another serving of the fluffy confectionary of romantic comedies that women crave. Yes, I did admit earlier that I was interested in seeing it; and since I am now reviewing said movie I obviously am still interested in it. So am I chick? I hope not. I was interested not so much in the fluffiness but in Sandra Bullock, Betty White, and the locale.
It goes without saying that Jesse James is a lucky man. I cannot understand it, even after all this time, but whatever he has that attracted the attention of Sandra, good for him! Though not old, she is now 45 and is old by Hollywood standards. But who cares because she looks better than ever in this movie. That is what caught my interest, especially seeing her delightful curves in the various posters and stand-ups for the film. Then to make it all the better is her "nude" scene, where she's stumbling about her bedroom showing all manner of delicious flesh. But I digress. Yes, I did tune in for the beautiful Sandra; but I stuck around for her chemistry with Ryan Reynolds. He is a comedic actor and should stay in comedy. When he ventures out into action, Blade: Trinity anyone?, heaven help us! But in this role, working with Sandra, the two have a great rapport and elevate the rote material with their natural charms. Sandra has always been able to do sweet and charming, and it's nice to see her do mean. As for Ryan, this role fits him like a glove.
Even after all these years, the diminutive Betty White knows how to steal the show. As the crux for bringing everyone to Alaska, Betty has raised the bar for zaniness. She knows how to play wonky and offbeat exceptionally well, and all eyes focus on her in every scene she's in. What will Betty do next? And even when her character is positively predictable it's still fun to see how she'll do it. Many have clamored for more Betty in this film, but I find her contribution to be just right. Any more would be too much.
Set in Alaska, but not filmed there, the movie offers a fresh locale for the tomfoolery. We all know the streets of New York, the hills of San Francisco, and the characteristics of dozens of other overused cities. I appreciate it when we get a relatively new venue, allowing the clichéd events to have opportunities to unfold in new directions. And Sitka, Alaska, does give The Proposal that extra little bit of juice.
With all the nice things stated, a small reminder needs to be said that The Proposal is a regurgitated Hollywood script. It doesn't do anything original, you can predict every twist and turn, and it ends exactly as you expect. Nonetheless, the pieces come together to surpass the stale material. Though Sandra and Ryan are the leading actors, the supporting cast goes a long way to help. In addition to the aforementioned Betty we also have Craig T. Nelson (Coach), Mary Steenburgen (Nobel Son), and a few others. Somehow it works. It's certainly not groundbreaking but it's a nice helping of romantic fun. It's perfect for date night.
In watching this movie with the ex-girlfriend (You really didn't think I'd watch it alone, did you?), I found myself disappointed with the video. Overall I found the presentation to be rather drab, lacking any depth and realism. It had a flat appearance that reminded me of DVD rather than Blu. In fact as we watched the movie I asked my friend of the female persuasion her thoughts on the picture. She is not as critical as I am, but she too found the presentation lacking. Still, colors are accurate if subdued, blacks are inky as needed, but detail seems a touch soft. I didn't notice any significant errors. Audio is better with its Dolby-HD Master Audio 5.1 mix. Being a romantic comedy, the soundtrack is not demanding; and as I think back, I don't remember any scene that put any demands on the audio mix. Dialog is consistently clean and understandable, there's subtle use of the surrounds for ambience and immersion, and the subwoofer emits bass in a gentle fashion. I noted no distortion.
The disc comes with a handful of extra items for those inclined to know more about The Proposal. Leading things off is the audio commentary with director Anne Fletcher (27 Dresses) and writer Peter Chiarelli. It's a nice track that has some good technical stuff with some gossipy bits as well. It makes a nice listen. Moving on we have three deleted scenes (6:32) with optional commentary from Anne. It's your usual assortment of proper trims. Next up is the original, alternate ending (6:35) with optional commentary by Anne and Peter. This was a very good call to change the ending. It's amusing as a bonus item but really would not have worked in the final cut. Outtakes (6:33) and trailers for Lost: Season 5, 10 Things I Hate About You: 10th Anniversary Edition, Scrubs: Season 8, Disney Fairy Tale Weddings, Old Dogs, and Everybody's Fine (the last two look promising) round things out. A digital copy of the movie is also included.
The Rebuttal Witnesses
Yeah, like two people are really going to fall in love in two days. And like the immigration people are going to be so concerned they'll track them down and visit them in Alaska.
The Proposal is another entry into the stable of romantic comedies. It does what that genre intends, bringing unrealistic love and happiness to the feminine masses. I didn't hate the movie, I found it mildly amusing, but I don't care to ever see it again. As this type of movie is a dime a dozen, it has nothing in it to truly set it apart from all the others. As such, I'll recommend it just for rental. It'll make a nice date movie, along with any other romantic comedy on the shelf. For the true fans, I wasn't especially impressed with the Blu, but the disc has no significant faults to prevent a purchase.
The Proposal is hereby found guilty of feeding puppies to eagles.
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