The Proposal Sandra BullockLast night Chantelle once again block my desperate attempt in getting her to go and watch G.I. Joe with me, with the end result being the two of us arriving in a rush at Ster Kinekor, Somerset Mall in order to grab our seats for The Proposal, a 2009 romantic comedy starring Sandra Bullock, Ryan Reynolds, Malin Akerman, Mary Steenburgen, Craig T. Nelson and Betty White (of Golden Girls fame in case you’re wondering). The movie is directed by Anne Fletcher, a woman who is certainly no stranger to the romantic comedy genre, having previously directed the fairly enjoyable 2008 27 Dresses romp as well as the more invigorating 2006 dance extravaganza, Step Up.

The story revolves around the super hard-working Margaret Tate (Sandra Bullock), executive editor-in-chief of a book publishing company and woman who throws her all into her career. Disliked by all her staff, she is manipulative and hard taskmaster who looks down on anyone who can’t keep up with her frenetic pace or fires anyone who refuses to put in the same work ethic as what she has. Serving under her as her personal assistant is Andrew Paxton (Ryan Reynolds), a hard-working man who dreams of climbing the corporate ladder in order to realise his dream of becoming an editor, but who for now has to contend with dealing with Margaret and ensuring that her every whim and need is catered for, while trying to not lose his sanity in the process!

There is however about to be a rather gigantic wrench thrown into these perfect little gears. Canadian-born Margaret discovers that her visa application has rather emphatically been denied and she is now suddenly faced with the prospect of being deported from the country with immediate effect. Naturally, with her career in dire peril she does what any other driven woman would do to keep on track – she blackmails Andrew into pretending to marry her and thus sidestep the country’s rather strict immigration policies.

Of course, there is one catch here. It’s a race against time as the immigration office is already onto her little scheme and besides having to convince just them that everything is above board and legit, she now needs to travel with Andrew on his scheduled weekend away trip to Alaska for his grandmother’s 90th birthday – and convince everyone over there that she and Andrew are indeed deeply, madly in love and meant for one another, despite all the stories they may already have heard about her!

Only one problem though… neither Andrew nor Margaret actually like one another very much!

The script reads very much like your standard, generic romantic comedy fare and in truth, the movie shuffles along its fairly predictable route, garnering in one or two laughs and giggles here and there, offers the expected angst, sadness and romance when required, and then finishes it all up with a deserved feel good ending, all of which never really strays very far from the tried and tested romantic comedy formula.

However, don’t get me wrong here – as a romantic comedy The Proposal is actually a fairly pleasant and enjoyable romp, much of which can be attributed to the wonderful chemistry that seems to exist between Sandra Bullock (who for some or other reason has long been one of my favourite actresses) and Ryan Reynolds (who is now proving himself to be quite adept in both the action and romantic comedy movie genres as of late). Both of these actors put in truly likeable performances and manage to effectively draw you into the romance that does eventually develop between the two of them, in other words making this a worthy romantic genre attempt.

That said, outside of these two enjoyable performances however not much else stands out in terms of acting or character appeal, with Malin Akerman’s character for example really coming across as being completely and not quite logically forced into the story, while Betty White’s usual over-the-top character coming across as being more irritating than endearing as far as I’m concerned.

The movie itself is thankfully quite beautifully shot and directed, and Anne Fletcher once again proves herself to be a deft film maker with a good eye and good skill behind the camera, laying out many of the scenes in a completely natural and believable way. There are a few dodgy special effects moments here and there admittedly, but for the most part the film looks, and sounds, pretty polished as a final product.

So in summary, if you are looking for some light entertainment, feel like a bit of romance with a couple of laughs along the way, then the well-made (if a little formulaic) The Proposal is certainly a film that will fit the bill for you, particularly if you just happen to be a fan of Sandra Bullock or Ryan Reynolds. They certainly make for a good on-screen couple but as always, just don’t expect these two to be winning any Oscars with this one of theirs! :P

The Proposal Sandra Bullock and Ryan Reynolds

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