I’m beginning to sound like a broken record, but romantic comedies are incredibly formulaic. Boy meets girl. Something keeps boy and girl apart. In the end boy gets girl. And that’s how we want it. If Richard Gere went back to his miserable life without Julia Roberts, we would be furious. If Hugh Grant didn’t figure out he was pushing people away out of fear and realize that woman (Julianne Moore, Drew Barrymore, Julia Roberts, Rachel Weisz take your pick, his movies are all alike) is the best thing that ever happened to him, we’d ask for our money back. That’s why we’re there, to see the boy get the girl. That being said, The Proposal has several very interesting and inventive takes on the standard rom-com. For one thing, boy hates girl.
Margaret Tate (Sandra Bullock) is a battleaxe. She is a power-broker editor at a large Manhattan publishing house where everyone either hates and/or fears her. Her assistant, Andrew (Ryan Reynolds), is at the top of the list. He is at her beck and call 24/7/365, and she is cold, ungrateful and unsupportive. All that changes when she discovers she is being deported to her native Canada, and she appeases her superiors by announcing that she and Andrew are engaged. With a highly suspicious INS agent snooping around, the pair in exchange for a fat promotion, travel to Andrew’s native Alaska for a family weekend posing as an actual engaged couple. Bet you can’t guess what happens.
The main thing this film has going for it is the cast. I give myself props because I predicted Ryan Reynolds’ success after seeing the much-maligned Van Wilder. I’m not a huge Sandra Bullock fan, but this role is perfect for her. Craig T. Nelson is great as the combative, controlling father (it’s also a nice touch that the family is not cookie-cutter perfect). And finally, I have to give a standing ovation to the indomitable Betty White, who is an absolute delight as Andrew’s 90-year-old ‘Gammy.’ I have to say I really enjoyed this film. The setting alone (I believe Vancouver fills in as Alaska) is worth the price of the ticket. It's a 7.