Saturday, June 13, 2009
Movie Review: The Proposal
We got there early for the sneak peak at the insistence of the Goose. The theatre was filling fast and I said in mild surprise, "I am surprised this many people want to see this train wreck."
"Train wreck? What do you mean? It looks good!"
I smiled. "Well, yeah, it is a rom-com, but it breaks too many rules. Ryan Reynolds and Sandra Bullock don't get to play their normal characters, it is the girl who gets rid of the guy only to realize he was what she wanted....it is a tough sell."
Time to eat my words.
Andrew Paxton (Ryan Reynolds) is the same character Reynolds pretty much always plays. He is the suave, sophisticated, egotistical jackass who has just enough charm to get the girls to swoon.
Margaret Tate (Sandra Bullock), on the other hand, is a different character for recent vintage Sandra Bullock. Gone is the clumsy, sweet, slightly overwhelmed charm girl and in its place is the Ice Princess, a callback to Meryl Streep's wench in The Devil Wears Prada.
The story line is one you have seen before a bunch of times; dominating personality and talented but soul-crushed partner are forced into close proximity, think they hate each other, end up falling in love and getting married.
The contrived plot is unfortunate, because there are several elements in the background that, if explored more deeply, would add depth and texture to what ultimately becomes a mildly touching romp through the normal points a rom-com genre movie should hit.
I would love to see more time spent on the tension between Andrew and his dad Joe, ably played by Joe T. Nelson. They have great chemistry and you definitely believe there is a story and history there. Sometimes those "we have history" scenes are brutal and transparent and can ruin what might otherwise be a watchable movie (for example, the "fireman prank" and "stories of past events together" scenes in the execrable Ladder 49 combined with the horrific acting of Joaquin Phoenix combined to make it a movie that hopefully you don't recognize). In this case, the scenes felt very real and drew you in.
The movie is very well placed, has several hysterically awesome scenes that had people laughing loud enough that you could not catch all the dialogue. That is an excellent sign.
It also shows that Anne Fletcher is an excellent director. She is obviously well versed in the uses of the Kuleshov effect, and her excellent reaction shots bring the movie from predictable and serviceable to extremely enjoyable and worth seeing again should opportunity arise.
Overall, this movie delivered with gorgeous scenery, plentiful laughs, a fun story, and a satisfying conclusion. If you enjoy romantic comedies, go see it.