I actually would have been ok with them not falling in love at the end and just realizing they were wrong about each other, but it’s like the writers said, “Well, we have to make them fall in love.” The audience is literally told by one of the main characters that the Andrew and Margaret love each other. That’s the only way I would have believed it, really.
While they rarely win Oscars, romantic comedies are actually a favorite of mine. Sure, they can be corny and silly, but if done just right, “rom-coms” balance drama, romantic chemistry and humor in a very entertaining way. Unfortunately, I don’t think The Proposal was done quite right.
The movies starts with Andrew (Ryan Reynolds), a personal assistant who despises his hard-as-nails book editor boss. That editor is Margaret (Sandra Bullock), who finds out she was too busy to renew her visa. She is about to be shipped back to Canada and can’t live or work in the States for a whole year. Panicked, Margaret convinces (aka bribes) Andrew to marry her and they fly to Andrew’s parents home in Alaska (yes, Alaska) to make it look legitimate.
I actually had high hopes for this movie. Bullock has made some very funny comedies in the past and she usually does a good job at balancing silliness and grace in those roles. Ryan Reynolds also has good comedic timing (I still remember Two Guys and a Girl from my teen years).But things just don’t seem to mesh in this movie. We’re supposed to believe that they fall for each other by the end, but they really don’t have enough scenes together to build that kind of chemistry. Considering Andrew hates her at the beginning of the movie, the two or three scenes of them getting to know one another only really gets them to a friendship level at best (they start to appreciate where the other one is coming from).
What gets me frustrated is that there were so few scenes with Reynolds and Bullock, but so many really stupid scenes with goofy (but not original) humor. Andrew’s mom and grandmother take Margaret out to lunch, only to surprise her with the only male stripper in town (played by the not so buff Oscar Nunez). This scene goes on for way too long and is only really funny for the first minute. There is another scene where the family dog almost gets eaten by a hawk (no, I’m not kidding) and yet another scene with the grandmother (Betty White) in a Native American costume and Margaret rapping. These are all a waste of time. Because of these scenes, Margaret is supposed to feel closer to the family and feel guilty about putting on the ruse, but it really just feels like filler.
I also found it a bit disturbing that there are no apparent repercussions for Margaret and Andrew’s “relationship” at work. Maybe I don’t know how a corporate office works, but I’m pretty sure if you date/propose to your superior, you get fired. Either I’m wrong or there’s a giant plot hole in this movie.
There are some particularly good performances. Craig T. Nelson impressed me as Andrew’s constantly disappointed father. Betty White does put in a good performance (save for the Native American scene). Really, she can get away with saying just about anything just because of her fantastically sweet voice. And Bullock and Reynolds start to have some chemistry. There is a scene between them where Margaret opens up about her past and you do start to see her as more than just a stereotypical ball-buster.
Overall: So much potential, and a handful of nice moments, but far from perfect.
2 out of 5 stars.