Directed by: Anne Fletcher
Premise: An executive assistant (Ryan Reynolds) agrees to marry his pushy and demanding Canadian boss (Sandra Bullock) to keep her from being deported when her work visa is denied. The pair travels to Alaska for the weekend to break the news to his family.
What Works: Ryan Reynolds and Sandra Bullock work very well together. Both actors have great comic timing and the humor works best in the moments when the film taps both performers’ talent for sarcasm. Although the romance is fairly stock, when the film quiets down and lets these two showcase their dramatic abilities, both actors deliver some very strong scenes.
What Doesn’t: The Proposal gets into trouble in its awkward shifts in tone. The film mostly plays as a standard romantic comedy with the unlikely couple falling in love through a series of misadventures. The trouble is that the comedic scenes are not very funny and the dramatic scenes carry a lot of weight. The subjects of the story—family, love, marriage, and how immigration law plays into these things—has a lot of importance for a lot of people and for the film to use it as a cheap hook for a slog through romantic comedy clichés is a little tacky.
Bottom Line: The Proposal is a predictable, by-the-numbers romantic comedy. It is not terribly funny and largely a waste of actors who are much better than the material they are working with.
Episode: #248 (July 26, 2009)