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  Publicity Stills of
"The Proposal"
(Courtesy of BVI)

Genre: Comedy/Romance
Director: Anne Fletcher
Cast: Sandra Bullock, Ryan Reynolds, Malin Akerman, Craig T. Nelson, Mary Steenburgen, Denis O'Hare, Betty White
RunTime: 1 hr 48 mins
Released By: BVI
Rating: PG
Official Website: http://www.theproposalmovie.co.uk/

Opening Day: 20 August 2009


When high-powered book editor Margaret (SANDRA BULLOCK) faces deportation to her native Canada, the quick-thinking exec declares that she’s actually engaged to her unsuspecting put-upon assistant Andrew (RYAN REYNOLDS), who she’s tormented for years. He agrees to participate in the charade, but with a few conditions of his own. The unlikely couple heads to Alaska to meet his quirky family (MARY STEENBURGEN, CRAIG T. NELSON, BETTY WHITE) and the always-in-control city girl finds herself in one comedic fish-out-of-water situation after another. With an impromptu wedding in the works and an immigration official on their tails, Margaret and Andrew reluctantly vow to stick to the plan despite the precarious consequences.

Movie Review:

Ah well, for those jaded by the formula dished out consistently by Hollywood romantic comedies, take note! The Proposal actually works, with all the necessary ingredients blending perfectly together to strike a delicate balance between laughter and drama, and delivered by an ensemble cast who are totally at ease with one another.

Directed by Anne Fletcher, who also helmed woman-centric flicks like 27 Dresses and Step Up, the introduction did draw some parallels with David Frankel's The Devil Wears Prada, where we see the two lead characters on polar opposites of power - Sandra Bullock's Margaret Tate as the domineering, office b* of a boss to Ryan Reynolds' Andrew Paxton, the meek, all obeying executive assistant of hers, tasked to do everything from picking up her coffee of the day right down to bailing her out of situations she wants to avoid, such as meetings she intend to show face and cut short.

The initial first few minutes will likely leave you in stitches, especially if you are or have been working in an office environment steeped in politics and hate games pointed squarely at the boss. While exaggerated and some scenes having been already included in the trailer, the actual scenes in themselves are one of the best, especially when Canadian Margaret realizes the real threat of deportation, and comes up with the hare-brained idea of getting married to American Andrew so that her papers would be in order for an indefinite stay at the USA.

Much of the mirth comes from the two characters' improvisational techniques when faced with questions that challenge their sham relationship and marriage, and both Sandra Bullock and Ryan Reynolds deserve full credit for their rapport, especially the latter. If you're looking for that perfect deadpan I-have-no-clue-what's-happening-but-Iíve-to-play-along-or-get-sacked look, then Reynolds aces that to a T.

But laughter aside, it has a significant message on the importance of family as well, and not since Paul Weitz's In Good Company have I experienced yet another Hollywood product that had this much of a work life balance built into the storyline. The family members, played by Mary Steenburgen and Craig T. Nelson as Mom and Dad, and Betty White as the endearing Grandma Annie, each have their respective idiosyncrasies courtesy of being small townsfolk, while Dad being Dad, grapples with his son's inexplicable choice for a bride, and the slacker of a career given their family empire.

And you can see where the major objections start to fade in, with Margaret being Andrewís direct superior in the office, and also being significantly older in age as well. But in relationship, you know as well as I do that differences could either make or break one, and in a romantic-comedy, there's no prize in guessing which one would come out tops. The story by Pete Chiarelli has enough rudimentary sentimental moments such as when the couple starts to open their hearts to one another and see past their misconceptions, where one is not always the meek man, and the other not always a cold hearted snake. And while it may journey down the track well trodden, I cannot say enough of the chemistry between Bullock and Reynolds and their presence will just grow on you.

The Proposal may seem like a typical movie following a formula right to the end, complete with the obligatory, expected ending. However, it's never been about the known destination, but the enjoyment of the journey delivered by an excellent cast sharing some great chemistry, especially in loving and loathing one another.

Movie Rating:

(Yes, I do!)

Review by Stefan Shih


. Confession of A Shopaholic (2009)

. Bride Wars (2009)

. New In Town (2009)

. 27 Dresses (2008)

. Definitely, Maybe (2008)

. The Lake House (2006)

. Just Friends (2005)

. Miss Congeniality 2: Armed & Fabulous (2005)

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