Saturday, June 20, 2009

The Proposal (*1/2)

The Proposal. 108 mins. PG-13. Directed by Anne Fletcher. Written by Pete Chirarelli. Starring Sandra Bullock, Ryan Reynolds, Craig T. Nelson, Mary Steenburgen, and Betty White.

The Proposal is one of those romantic comedies that gives the genre a bad name. It's a lazy, unfunny movie that hopes to coast on the numerous charms of its two leads, but is ultimately brought down by awkward comedic timing and an unbelievable love story. Scenes linger on just a few seconds longer than they should, and some seem to be building towards a payoff that never comes. Bullock stars as a balls-to-the-wall career gal, Margaret, who is supposed to be as scary a boss as Meryl Streep in The Devil Wears Prada, but really she's just a bitchy version of the typical Sandra Bullock character. Ryan Reynolds is her put-upon assistant, Andrew, in a typical mainstream Reynolds role, underplayed and lacking any bite. When Margaret is threatened with deportation (she's an illegal Canadian), she blackmails Andrew to pretend they're engaged to keep her in the country. Their scheme ultimately lands them in Andrew's hometown of Sitka, Alaska, where they fight, bicker, and maybe, just maybe, fall in love. Here's the problem: Reynolds and Bullock work well together, but at no point do you believe that these two are falling in love. This movie only works if it's about Margaret ditching her ice queen facade, and Andrew learning to grow some cojones. Margaret and Andrew should be good friends, not a romantic couple. Hey, it worked for My Best Friend's Wedding - why not here? Perhaps most egregious of all though are three jaw-droppingly stupid scenes that are about the worst thing you'll see on screen this year. First, there's the one where an eagle scoops up a dog while Margaret chases them. The dog is rescued, but then the eagle goes after Margaret's phone. Second, there's a waaay too long scene at a local bar where Oscar from The Office plays an unsexy stripper that Betty White gets a little too excited about. Third, and this one's a doozy, involves Betty White and Bullock doing chants in the forest. The chants ultimately lead to Bullock singing Lil Jon's "Get Low" and shaking her rump. It was about this time that I put my head in my hands, gave up, and turned down this proposal.



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