Dave White
The Proposal Review

Dave's Rating:


Defend marriage against these people.

Who's In It: Sandra Bullock, Ryan Reynolds, Betty White, Mary Steenburgen, Craig T. Nelson, Denis O'Hare, Malin Akerman, Oscar Nunez

The Basics: Sandra B is the high-powered book editor who gets reluctant best-selling authors on Oprah and who rules over her own kingdom with an iron fist. Ryan Reynolds is her resentful, beleaguered assistant. But when the Canadian-born lady-boss violates her work visa and is threatened with deportation, she forces her underling to propose to her or lose his own job. And that's how they managed to work in the wedding scene. Because there always has to be a wedding of some sort in this kind of movie, which is sort of a stepchild to the subgenre of "chick flicks" in which OHMYGOD I HAVE TO GET MARRIED RIGHT NOW!

What's The Deal: Back in the olden times before movies were in color, there was this director named Howard Hawks and this other guy named Preston Sturges. Between the two of them they made movies like His Girl Friday, Bringing Up Baby, The Lady Eve and Palm Beach Story. Ever seen those? You should. Because in those movies when the leading lady and leading man were destined to fall in love--like they always are--they didn't have to sacrifice being funny to get themselves there. In this movie, the leads are funny, quick-witted, bantering adversaries for the first 30 minutes. Then everything downshifts and turns gooey. She was orphaned as a teen. He has daddy issues. True love is blooming all tenderly and dumb. They have to get married right now before granny dies. It's like someone stepped in, performed an intervention and put the movie on a 12-step program to cure it of laughs.

My Wish For Sandra Bullock, Who I Find Totally Entertaining Almost All The Time, Even When She's In Crap, And Who Isn't Reading This Even Though It's A Direct Address: Be mean. And stay mean. I think you're really great when you're tough and unpleasant like in Miss Congeniality. Or when you're sarcastic and pessimistic like in Speed. So during the first third of this film I thought, "Oh nice, she's just going to be a horrible ball-buster and it's going to be hilarious." And then it all went to hell and you lost your toughness and let your hair down and took off the impossibly angry-looking high heels and became vulnerable. Which is never funny. Could you please, for me, just go with your gut and be the horrible and horribly funny person from start to finish in more than one film every seven years?

Aside From The Funny First Act, Worth Seeing For: All the great shots of a town in Massachusetts that was overhauled to look like Alaska, the state where Reynolds's character comes from. If you don't sit through credits to find out it wasn't shot there, then you'll believe they're really in the northernmost state and it's beautiful enough to make you forget that irritating former vice-presidential candidate.


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