Sunday, June 28, 2009

Briefly: The Proposal (2009)

The title The Proposal has two meanings; it refers to the improvised marriage between shrew boss Margaret (Sandra Bullock) and exasperated assistant Andrew (Ryan Reynolds) devised to stave off her deportation, as well as to their jobs in the world of book publishing. But another possible title, The Sham, works equally well, not only to describe their romantic hoax but also the contrived, counterfeit nature of this entire cinematic enterprise. Set in Alaska (but shot in Massachusetts), The Proposal tries to form an unholy union of its own between Meet the Parents-style homecoming shenanigans and the workplace screwball comedy of previous Bullock vehicle Two Weeks Notice. And while the stars mug and flail with commendably shameless abandon, the movie's about as romantic as a fifth season episode of Jon & Kate Plus 8. That's what happens when you give two people who've hated each other for three years three wacky misadventure-filled days to fall in love. When do you think it hit Margaret that what she really wanted all along was Andrew and his rippling rectus abdominis? I'm guessing the light bulb moment came at some point between when the male stripper shoved his junk in her face and dancing a Native American tribal ritual with Betty White.

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