Sandra Bullock almost seems too sweet to play the hard-nosed Editor-in-chief, Margaret Tate, but The Proposal is clearly a movie made for the meaner side of her personality. Playing a character akin to The Devil Wears Prada’s Miranda Priestley, Bullock’s Tate is one of the most detestable bosses you’ll ever see. By contrast, the aspiring author, Andrew Paxton (Ryan Reynolds) is a put upon subordinate forced to fetch coffee and take the abuse doled out to him from Tate. It’s not just Paxton that sees Tate’s wrath, as the entire office is under her dominion.
All this changes as Tate’s Canadian lineage comes back to haunt her and she is threatened with deportation. A little swift thinking and the timely interruption from Paxton lead to the announcement that the two, hotshot editor in chief and P.A. are to get married, much to the latter’s chagrin. Both sides are blackmailed by the other, and the end result is the two agree to a stalemate marriage and quickie divorce shortly afterwards. One thing gets in the way though: love.
This classic Summer rom-com makes good use of the conventions of the genre with plenty of awkward situations between the two, made ever more enjoyable by the leads’ cuteness. The conflict is offered by Department of Immigration official, Mr. Gilbertson, who scrutinizes the pair’s relationship in their short engagement period.
A majority of the action takes place in the sleepy Alaskan backwater of Sitka, where Paxton’s family have gathered to celebrate the matriarchal granny’s (Betty White) 90th birthday. What follows is a mish-mash of Meet The Fokkers, Green Card and While You were Sleeping, as the couple attempt to lie and deceive their way to Tate’s extended visa. The Paxton family is a string of amusing characters from the male stripper to the girl Paxton left behind when he moved to the Big Apple. Their reactions to the surprising pairing, and uncomfortable warmth to Tate form a solid backdrop to the knowing nods, winks and antics between Tate and Paxton.
The Proposal is undeniably one of the sweetest rom-coms around at the moment, and with plenty of interaction between the lead characters, as well as the inclusion of an aging, but no less comically potent, Betty White as the grandmother and an adorable white puppy dog tailing the pair throughout their stay in Sitka, it’s loaded up with feelgood juice. Of course, the pair begin to fall in love, and with only the hawkish Mr. Gilbertson offering any threat to the couple, the comedy is balanced well with the romance.