This is a review of the 2009 movie The Proposal starring Sandra Bullock, Ryan Reynolds, Craig T. Nelson, and Mary Steenburgen
Plot Summary: A pushy boss forces her young assistant to marry her in order to retain her visa status in the U.S. and avoid deportation to Canada.
Me: You know how I hate chick flicks, Honeybee.
The Honeybee: No kidding. You were so reluctant to watch The Proposal that the DVD sat on our bookshelf for two whole weeks before you finally agreed to watch it.
Me: Did I have a choice? You were holding our Netflix queue hostage and so I finally gave in and watched it. By the way, would you remind me to get the Netflix password from you after we finish this review?
The Honeybee: Heh. That’ll be the day. If you had control of the queue, all I’d get is a steady diet of artsy-fartsy movies and action flicks.
Me: But you have to admit the movies I pick are usually good ones.
The Honeybee: Really? Let the record show I wasn’t the genius who put The Good German on our Netflix queue.
Me: Eww – I ain’t ever going to live that one down, am I?
The Honeybee: Never. But admit it though – you liked The Proposal, didn’t you?
Me: Hated it.
The Honeybee: Liar. You were actually laughing out loud in a couple of places.
Me: Okay, okay. I admit it. I really did enjoy this movie. The presence of one of my favorite actresses, Sandra Bullock, didn’t hurt. I guess that shouldn’t be a surprise considering I also enjoyed Miss Congeniality too.
The Honeybee: You know how I feel about Sandra Bullock. I like her so much I named our daughter, Lenina, after the character Bullock played in Demolition Man.
Me: You mean you didn’t name Lenina after me?
The Honeybee: Why would I do that?
Me: Well if you like Sandra Bullock so much, why didn’t you just name our daughter Sandra?
The Honeybee: Because I don’t like the name Sandra.
The Honeybee: Are you okay?
Me: I’ll be fine. But we really need to move on. Bullock plays a wicked publishing company editor-in-chief named Margaret. As a boss, Margaret is such a tyrant (not unlike Meryl Streep’s character in The Devil Wears Prada) that when she arrives at work each morning, her employees instant message “It’s here!” to each other. Ryan Reynolds is absolutely terrific as her thankless assistant, Andrew, who only sticks around because he loves writing and is hoping to get his own manuscript published. When Margaret is informed that her visa application has been denied and she is being deported back to her native Canada, she bribes Andrew into a temporary marriage by promising him an editor’s position.
The Honeybee: But first they have to deceive a suspicious immigration agent (Denis O’Hare) by convincing him they are truly in love.
Me: So the fake love-birds travel to Sitka, Alaska, to celebrate Andrew’s grandma’s 90th birthday and legitimize the scam.
The Honeybee: Was The Proposal really filmed in Alaska?
Me: I’m told it was actually filmed in Massachusetts.
The Honeybee: Well, the entire story is completely hokey and unbelievable, but the chemistry between Bullock and Reynolds is so good I didn’t even care.
Me: Absolutely, Honeybee. Anybody over age five knows how the movie will turn out but, as you say, it really doesn’t matter. That’s largely attributable to the outstanding quality of the casting, which doesn’t end with Bullock and Reynolds. Mary Steenburgen and Craig T. Nelson play a very believable version of Andrew’s parents, and Betty White steals every scene she is in as the grandmother.
The Honeybee: I thought Oscar Nunez, who most people probably know from “The Office,” was absolutely hilarious as the town grocery clerk, waiter, justice of the peace, and stripper. In fact, I thought his strip-club routine was the funniest scene in the movie.
Me: Bullock shows why she is such a terrific actress in this movie, capably pulling off a lot of physical comedy and some really absurd scenes that most other actresses would never even attempt, let alone make convincing. And you’re right, both Reynolds’ and Bullock’s chemistry was undeniable.
The Honeybee: Did you know Reynolds is married to Scarlett Johanssen?
Me: What a lucky guy.
The Honeybee: So what’s your verdict?
Me: Well, the plot was both predictable and unbelievable, and the writing was terribly formulaic, even for a romantic comedy. But the acting and on-screen chemistry of Bullock and Reynolds, not to mention the terrific supporting cast, masked all of those flaws so effectively that it really didn’t matter at all.
The Honeybee: So I take it you’re finally warming up to being more accepting of chick flicks?
Me: I wouldn’t go that far. This movie wasn’t mushy like a true chick flick. It’s actually more of a date-movie than a chick flick, if you ask me.
The Honeybee: I’ll take that as a yes. I know I rate The Proposal a “buy.” Now man-up you chick-flick lover and come out of the closet.
Me: I ain’t admitting to anything that earth-shattering, but I will say this: Unlike the last chick flick we saw, this movie is a fun way to burn a couple of hours with your sweetheart. Please don’t tell my man-friends that I said that though.
The Honeybee: I think you just did, Rambo.
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