I don't see near as many movies in the theater as I used to, so I never got around to seeing The Proposal starring Sandra Bullock and Ryan Reynolds earlier this year. As it turns out, this is one film I wouldn't have regretted paying to see in the theater. I tend to like Sandra Bullock movies - While You Were Sleeping, Two Weeks Notice, and The Lake House rank among my favorites. She's so pretty but not in a stand-offish kind of way, and with the right script she can be oh so funny. In some respects she reminds me just a tad of Doris Day (not all the time by any stretch, and just a smidgen mind you! *wink*).
The story in a nutshell concerns one Margaret Tate (Bullock), an editor who rules her publishing house domain with an iron fist (think Meryl Streep in The Devil Wears Prada), who discovers she's about to be deported thanks to carelessly flouting US immigration laws, all in the name of advancing her career. She blackmails her long-suffering assistant Andrew (Reynolds) into agreeing to marry her - only of course this contrived story doesn't fly with the immigration official. And sure, you could argue that this is just another contrived rom-com, but there are enough fresh and funny moments inserted into the script that I thoroughly enjoyed the movie. For one thing, the gender battle between Margaret and Andrew is a heckuva lot of fun to watch. I can't think of another film offhand where the guy, who's playing second fiddle to an extremely powerful, by all appearances self-assured woman, is just as smart and as bright as his female counterpart - instead of falling into the trap of being likable but goofy/silly/stupid male lead. Does that make sense? When Margaret has to acknowledge that she actually needs Andrew's willing cooperation in order to stay in the country, and they have to kind of recalibrate their relationship, the "hiccups" in that process are a lot of fun to watch. :)
Bullock and Reynolds have some terrific on-screen chemistry. And let me be honest here, Reynolds is just a doll. He's an absolute sweetheart in this movie. His ability to balance being drop-dead gorgeous, sincere, and romantic with the comedic aspects of the role reminded me a bit of Cary Grant - he wasn't afraid to be wonderfully silly either. In fact the whole tone of The Proposal comes about as close as one could wish to the tone of the more classic romantic comedies, particularly the Doris Day/Rock Hudson gems. If it wasn't for the inclusion of Sandra Bullock's first nude scene - which is silly, stupid slapstick, and completely unnecessary to the flow of the story in my view - this movie would hit even closer to the mark of aspiring to the tone of the classic romantic comedies. The movie has a lot of pretty positive things to say about marriage and family and relationships that are quite refreshing to see portrayed in a positive & funny light. The family angle of the film is anchored by the always enjoyable Betty White as Andrew's grandmother - and she may be 87, but let me tell you that woman is an inspiration. She steals every single scene she's in. :)
If you missed The Proposal when it was in theaters I highly recommend checking it out. It's by turns super sweet and laugh-out-loud funny, and definitely my favorite romantic comedy of the year. (For the record I've seen Confessions of a Shopaholic and really enjoyed it (hello Hugh Dancy!!), thought New in Town was mediocre, and My Life in Ruins was so blah I'm not going to waste a blog post on it.)