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Monday, 5 February 2018

Weekend TV Movie Review: The Proposal (2009), BBC1

The Proposal
Cast: Sandra Bullock, Ryan Reynolds, Betty White, Mary Steenbergen, Craig T. Nelson
Genre: Romantic Comedy
Worldwide Box Office Gross: over $317 million

Plot: A pushy boss forces her young assistant to marry her in order to keep her Visa status in the U.S & avoid deportation to Canada

'This Rom-Com Proposes So Much, Yet Is Mostly Stalemate & Delivers Less For One's Buck' 

Back in 2007, it was announced that Sandra Bullock had been given the lead role and that Julia Roberts who was initially approached by producers for this rom-com, had later turned it down. In watching The Proposal, I can probably see why she dodged this bullet: the chemistry between Ryan Reynolds and Sandra Bullock, of whom we or I am supposed to buy into as a couple, is bereft and just didn't transcend and come through. Secondly, the script is a rehash or tinkling of 2002's Sweet Home Alabama, but replacing the former young lovers with a b****y, conceited female boss with her younger male assistant as the sham couple and setting them up for holy matrimony. 

Margaret is an uptight, self-absorbed chief publishing editor who cares more about her career than towards anyone else, well on the surface level, she is that way towards everyone she comes across. Andrew is Margaret's young, hunky- looking admin assistant with a heart of gold, who wouldn't hurt anyone, let alone other people's feelings. He also has aspirations of becoming an editor himself. But when Andrew does hook up with Margaret, that changes. When Canadian-born Margaret faces the prospect of being deported from the U.S, as her Green card application is rejected, she muscles in Andrew and gets him to propose and marry her, so she can remain in the country - and threatens to fire him if he refuses. The immigration visa plotline veers similarly somewhat to the one in 1990's Green Card. Andrew takes up Margaret's offer and the two go to Alaska to visit his family. But as ever with these movies, it isn't long until feelings begin to surface and the potential coupling ends up together in the end. Which they do here. 

I was looking forward to what initially sounded like a somewhat intriguing premise - only for the execution of it to be not up to par. Something about this film just never quite sat with me, besides the mismatch of Reynolds and Bullock as the so-called romantic lovebirds, with coincidentally enough half German/American- born Bullock playing a Canadian and Vancouver- born Reynolds as an American. Not once in the movie is there a scene where it really taps into the mindset of Andrew and Margaret's characters and their feelings never really came to fruition.  

It does have a few screwball comedy moments, but in general, the movie just didn't work for me. And the manner they got together, in the end, I just couldn't go along with it as it was so implausible. Individually, Reynolds and Bullock's moments worked slightly better rather than in scenes when they were together, because in those moments when they were together like sharing a room together, didn't work. Yet even when The Proposal compensates the lack of absence of chemistry by throwing in various subplots and comic shenanigans, it still wasn't enough. Without that chemistry coming from Reynolds and Bullock, as well as the lack of heart, the film couldn't survive that much longer. 

Sandra Bullock is another in the long line of likeable female actresses alongside Julia Roberts and Jennifer Aniston who are mostly associated with playable, likeable characters in the types of movies general movie audiences turn their noses up, for various reasons. I like Sandra Bullock as an actress and she is very good at what she does - but as mentioned so many times I am more partial towards Julia Roberts, as there are more movies and roles of hers that I enjoyed more than with Aniston and Bullock. But even if this movie did have Julia Roberts in it, I still wouldn't have enjoyed it any more. 

Besides that The Proposal is way too generic in its execution and approach, too formulaic and obvious as with millions of other rom-coms, but also the writing just didn't maintain my enthusiasm and interest in this film. Additionally, The Proposal commits the same cardinal sin as 2002's Sweet Home Alabama when events shift from the city to urban surroundings minus the fancy buildings and the story starts to lose its way and becomes dull. 

I also looked up Anne Fletcher's other directorial credits: she also did 27 Dresses, Step Up, Hot Pursuit and The Guilt Trip - movies that I've never been keen on also -, as well as produced The Wedding Planner starring Jennifer Lopez and Matthew McCoughney, and writer Pete Chiarelli: he also penned 'Now You See Me 2' of 2017. 

Under Fletcher, The Proposal is stuck on autopilot all the way from beginning to end & never really got its feet off the ground. 

Final Verdict:

The extra half a mark is for the turns by both Bullock and Reynolds, but the rest of the movie, with the exception of 2 or 3 scenes, was and is completely forgettable and throwaway. Sandra Bullock and Ryan Reynolds never made for a convincing couple onscreen, as much as they tried to make it work the romance fell way short of the mark. When they ended up together, in the end, it felt phoned-in, rather than naturally. But neither as I said earlier could I have envisaged Reynolds with Julia Roberts together as a pairing and of them salvaging it. 

That and the cardboard-like material is also what sank this film. It just wasn't entertaining or convincing enough. 

The Proposal is so unabashedly uninspired it fails to generate any genuine and real sparks of romance and attraction from the leads. 

It's another rom-com filed under 'disappointing/forgettable' for me.


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