The Proposal (2009)


RB score:  5/10

Movie critics have never seemed to be a very sympathetic lot. Many a film has the critics and I traveling separate paths. “The Proposal” is a movie where not only do I agree with the prevailing critic sentiment, this time, I think they were in general too kind.

Fan that I am of many an insipid romcom, fully expecting to enjoy “The Proposal” as another vehicle for enjoyable escapism, instead I found this movie to be a stomach-churner. This isn’t hyperbole; it really made me nauseous.  Given, if you look in the dictionary for a definition of “formulaic” this would be the leading example.  Formulaic comedy can still be enjoyable with the right ingredients, which really, this movie just didn’t have, starting with the basic plot. The story of the driven publishing executive (Sandra Bullock) who is facing deportation and fakes an engagement to her US citizen assistant (Ryan Reynolds) is obviously not original material in any way, shape or form, so something extra was needed to elevate this material into the “done well” category. Having the Ryan Reynolds character be from Alaska provided for some amazing scenery, but that’s about it. Much was written about the chemistry between the leads, which to me was nonexistent. Certainly there was good acting from two very capable performers, but this doesn’t equal chemistry. For starters, Ryan is noticeably younger than Sandra, even though the story calls for them to be about the same age. Not necessarily a problem in the movie world, if the relationship can otherwise clear the credibility hurdle. But come on now, we have the younger, impossibly handsome assistant being treated like a doormat by his older, not as attractive boss, who lies to him about his capability as a writer so that he will remain subservient to her and then compounds this failure of trust by blackmailing him to an engagement? And in the days following this forced engagement, when she gets to know him and she falls for him, after this treatment he returns the feeling? Do you see where the stomach churning comes in? Who wrote this screenplay??

I would sooner watch “Identity Thief” again, a movie that I only rated 3/10. So where does the 5 come from here?
1 point for beautiful scenery
1 point for Ryan Reynolds
1 point for the small town in Alaska having a male exotic dancer with a huge gut who also manages the general store
1 point for containing no scenes that younger viewers can’t see
1 point for hiring brilliant, enjoyable veteran actors for the supporting cast: Mary Steenburgen, Craig T. Nelson and Betty White.

-5 for the stomach churning script.