The Proposal

The ProposalI have an odd love/hate relationship with Sandra Bullock.  I think her comedic timing and humor are quite excellent.  But the projects she does are, well, it’s not that they’re just extremely low-brow, it’s that they’re mostly just insulting.  It was refreshing to see her take a small, but not self-important role in the wildly overrated Crash of 2005, but she quickly burned through any credibility that that film might have garnered her by following it up with projects like Miss Congeniality 2: Armed and Fabulous, and Premonition.  Not many even took the time to see her critically-acclaimed Infamous (in her defense, it was insanely overshadowed by Capote).  After a three year break, she’s finally back on the big screen, and unfortunately, she’s up to her old tricks: shitty romantic comedies.

The Proposal‘s premise isn’t difficult.  Margaret Tate (Bullock) is a successful book editor at a large book publisher in New York.  She doesn’t smile, she’s constantly at the mercy of her BlackBerry, has no empathy for co-workers, and no personal life to speak off.  She’s made a whipping boy out of her assistant Andrew Paxton (Ryan Reynolds), who adheres to her every whim.  A visa issue (Margaret is Canadian) forces her to bribe Andrew into marrying her (hence the film’s unimaginative tag line: Here comes the bribe).  Margaret and Andrew fly to a quaint Alaskan town to tell Andrew’s parents, where she’s stripped of her extremely high heels, cell phone, and is meant to regain that feminine humanity she was forced to lose by becoming a successful business woman.

The messages in the movie are more than a little offensive.  Women: you can’t be successful and keep any amount of normality.  Men: beware women in positions of power, you’ll have to break their spirits in order to get into bed with them.  But worse than being offensive, The Proposal just isn’t funny.  Bullock (who received an executive producer credit on the project) manages to do what she can with the mind-numbingly ridiculous script (penned by seeming misogynist Pete Chiarelli).  Reynolds, whom I frequently find funny, was so bogged down by the dialogue, he seemed to be as uninterested in the film as I was, mostly there as a prop, rather than an actor.  Betty White plays Andrew’s grandma, and couldn’t manage to pull a laugh from the audience at any cost.  The whole mess is directed by Anne Fletcher who’s last project was the annoying 27 Dresses.  Before that, it was Step Up. Good lord, who keeps giving her a budget?  Fletcher may have mastered pandering to  thirteen year-olds, but she seems to have really found her niche in unfunny cliches and stereotypes.


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12 Responses to “The Proposal”
  1. Jen says:

    I’m usually a sucker for romantic comedies, but since I absolutely despised 27 Dresses, I’ll definitely be skipping this one. Plus, I just can’t seem to get on board with Ryan Reynolds. There is just something about that guy that rubs me the wrong way.

  2. Ben says:

    Poor Ryan Reynolds. He seems like a guy that would be fun to hang out with. I’m glad you watched this so I don’t have to. I have to agree on the insufferable 27 Dresses as well. I’m curious about Bullock’s Insufferable now. Did you like her in 28 Days Later?

  3. Ben says:

    Sorry, I meant Bullock’s Infamous, not insufferable.

  4. Ben says:

    God I’m on a roll. 28 Days, not 28 Days Later. Although I would be interested to see Ms. Bullock star in a Danny Boyle zombie flick.

  5. Blake says:

    Jen, even for a romantic comedy, this one is a dud, you’re well advised to skip it. You should check out Shall We Kiss? when you’re next in the mood for a rom-com. It’s hilarious, and well done.

    Ben, I haven’t seen that movie in years, but if I recall correctly, Sandra Bullock did everything she could with the script, which was pretty bad. I’m certain she’s one of the most underrated actors out there, and certainly one of the most pigeonholed.

  6. Mad Hatter says:

    OK…I have to ask: How did you end up choosing this movie to see? It doesn’t seem like the sort of flick you usually watch/review.

    Did you lose a bet??

  7. Blake says:

    Mad Hatter – I’m glad that The Proposal seemed a little out of place. The truth is, I write reviews for another website as well, and was more or less assigned to see and review it. I didn’t fight it too hard because I have a huge crush on Sandra Bullock.

  8. Fletch says:

    Haha – Mrs. Fletch and I almost saw this out of desperation, but we have yet to succumb.

    I’m with you on Bullock. I think she has talent, but rarely uses it. Screw her. With her choices, she’s a step above Kate Hudson, but just barely. Grow up and do some better flicks already.

  9. Fletch says:

    And Blake…anything I can do to get you to have a “subscribe to comments via email” checkbox?

    (I might never see your reply without it, by the way.)

  10. blake says:

    I didn’t even know that was a possibility, but I think I added one. Let me know if it doesn’t work! (Even though you may never see this)

  11. Agreed! Bullock really is talented, but this and all the prototype RomComs before it may not be worth the occasional bright light. I did like her a lot in Blindside though. She’s borderline overwhelming, so if she can channel that into the right character with a decent script, she’s really great to watch.

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