Wednesday 28 Sep 2016

The Proposal
Stacy Allen

Fans of romantic comedies are aware. They’re aware their favourite films are predictable. They’re aware there’s a character in the film that is outrageous and used for absurd comedic effect, alone. They’re aware the screenwriters exaggerate and tease out characters and circumstances, in the extreme.

Why, then, do we continually throw money at the franchise? Is it to see the pairing of the two leads? Do we want to laugh at the ridiculousness of the situations? Do we want to escape our reality for two hours; seriously, when is a romantic comedy ever about reality?  For “The Proposal,” the answer is a resounding is all of the above.

“The Proposal” has a simple plot. From the previews alone, you know “The Proposal” pairs a non-quirky, straight edged Sandra Bullock with the typically dry, sarcastic and beautiful, dear lord let him lose his shirt more often, Ryan Reynolds. Bullock plays a hardcore, career-oriented book editor, Margaret, who has a problem. The USA government wants to deport her back to Canada.

She’ll lose her career unless she finds a way to remain in the United States, legally. What better way than marrying her attractive assistant Andrew, portrayed by Canadian Ryan Reynolds?  Is that irony? Though Andrew agrees to go along with her scheme, the government agent in charge of her case is suspicious. This lands Bullock and Reynolds in Alaska just in time for the 90th birthday of Andrew’s grandmother, portrayed by Betty White. Andrew and Margaret must put on a sham romance in front of all of his friends and family or face jail time.

For all the predictability engrained into the plot there is one element that catches you off guard, Sandra Bullock. Her usual romantic comedy quirkiness is gone and replaced by a straight edge dry humour, which seems much more honest and self-deprecating. Another surprise is the chemistry she has with Ryan Reynolds. Their scenes are so electrifying that their ignored sexual tension sometimes upstages everyone else on screen. 

Upstaging seems to be common whenever Betty White, the outrageous woman who can say and do just about anything and get a laugh, is part of the supporting cast. Also in the mix are Craig T. Nelson, who plays masculine and intimidating men just as good as anyone in my opinion, and Mary Steenburgen, who can conjure feelings of both comfort and guilt, as any good mother should. The film has an excess of ridiculous situations for the cast to endure, but the joy in these scenes is watching the cast play off each another. I cannot count how many times I have seen this film now and each time there is something new I find pleasure in.

“The Proposal” is a charming romantic comedy that makes you feel good. It delivers characters that are beautiful, relatable, people you don’t mind cheering. It’s a perfect film to curl up with on a rainy day or to watch with your group of best friends on a girl’s night in. Ultimately, “The Proposal” is my favourite romantic comedy because I haven’t found an occasion for which it isn’t perfect. When nothing else could possibly fit my mood and I’m in desperate need of joy I say “Yes” to “The Proposal.”

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