By Jack Rico
Rated: PG-13 for sexual content, nudity and language.
Release Date: 2009-06-19
Starring: Pete Chiarelli
Official Website: http://touchstone.movies.go.com/theproposal/
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The Proposal is a formulaic romantic comedy that offers nothing remotely fresh or new while following a very predictable outcome. For some people, that’s enough. Some will think its enough, but the film is mediocre at best and hoping its anything else are just false expectations.
Not much in the sense of a plotline – A pushy boss (Sandra Bullock) forces her young assistant (Ryan Reynolds) to marry her in order to keep her Visa status in the U.S. and avoid deportation to Canada.
It should not be considered a spoiler to reveal that the two actually fall in love. After all, that’s the point of the movie, and the only reason any percentage of the population will see it. (Also, once you’ve watched the three-minute trailer, there is no point in seeing the 108-minute film – not only does the trailer tell the whole story, but it includes all the best comedic material.)
The problem, which I alluded to earlier, is that the romance falls flat. It has nothing to do with chemistry. Bullock and Reynolds don’t burn up the screen, but they’re nice enough together. The movie doesn’t give us enough to go on to believe that these two have fallen in love. Those who buy it will do so because the formula demands it, not because the movie has succeeded in closing the sale.
There are some funny moments, chief of which is the overhyped “nude” scene in which Margaret, fresh from the shower and wearing nothing (but with arms and hands strategically positioned so the rating can remain PG-13) collides with an equally in-the-buff Andrew. It’s more amusing than laugh-aloud funny, and it’s about as naughty as things can get without crossing the line into R territory. Most of The Proposal‘s jokes are like that in that they provoke smiles and chuckles but fail to generate any really good laughs.
The cast isn’t populated by heavyweights. It has been a while since Sandra Bullock has been in the fast lane, and it’s been about a decade since she was a prime romantic comedy actress. Ryan Reynolds, who showed flashes of genuine talent in Adventureland, is back to phoning it in. (Although, to be fair, his flummoxed expression when Andrew “learns” he’s engaged to Margaret – which carries through more than one scene – is possibly the film’s funniest element.)
The Proposal will give you a bland taste of romance this weekend. We rather you cozy up to one of the classic Tom Hank romantic comedies on DVD this weekend than endure the regurgitated, cardboard taste of The Proposal.