A Little Less Than Engaging: Review for The Proposal

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I really don’t think chick flicks care about what critics say. They’re audience films, and that’s not much of a problem. They are chock full of romantic clichés and cutesy characters and archetypes of jerks and nice guys abound. Romantic comedies are often distilled into the same group as chick flicks, which is not entirely deserved. Mean Girls could be considered a chick flick, but it’s not really a romantic comedy at all. I think Music and Lyrics is a bit of a romantic comedy, and it walks the line well. Anne Fletcher is the successful director of the chick flick and romantic comedy 27 Dresses with Katherine Heigl. She knows how to use the clichés and make the fun and fresh, if not completely new.

The Proposal is about a man (Ryan Reynolds) who works, as a secretary mind you, for an evil boss. The evil boss (Sandra Bullock) is threatened with deportation back to Canada, and boils up a plan to “marry” her whipping boy secretary. In an attempt to make this sham seem real, the two travel to Alaska to meet the boy’s family. Comedy ensues.

Sandra Bullock’s Margaret Tate is really nothing after you’ve seen The Devil Wears Prada. She’s bitchy, alright, but her bitchiness does not even match up to a tenth of Meryl Streep’s Oscar nominated portrayal of Hell on heels. But, whatever the level of bitchiness, Sandra Bullock is actually funny and touching in the movie. It’s been several years since she’s done anything as fun and loose as The Proposal. She fits the role and she looks like Maggie Tate would be anal retentive, and that’s just fine.

Ryan Reynolds plays Maggie’s secretary, and being a secretary with a horrible boss, that kind of places you in a role where you will be his or her whipping boy. But Reynolds shows comedic chops as well as genuine warmth in the film. But his character is reduced to average one-liners, sarcastic remarks, and nakedness.

Betty White is funny (notice, not hilarious) as Gammy, Andrew’s grandmother. The 90 year old woman makes it her shtick throughout the entire film by saying things 90 year old women don’t usually say, but probably think in their heads. It’s a fine turn for White, who’s an expert at comedic timing and has fun with dirty humor, but the script didn’t offer her much.

Overall, this is your typical cute romantic comedy. There isn’t that much to day about it because the plot itself has very little to say, besides defrosting a cold hearted bitch. While it tried to show that Maggie was indeed a human and not just an automaton, it struggled too much with over emotion. The Devil Wears Prada is much better and offered a much more complex antagonist. The film offers several laughs, but it will not remain in your mind for much time.

Grade: C+

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