Starring: Sandra Bullock, Ryan Reynolds, Mary Steenburgen
Director: Anne Fletcher
Running Time: 108 mins
The Proposal is an American film about a pushy boss who forces her assistant to marry her after she learns that she is to be deported to Canada. But in order to make the marriage seem legitimate, she must travel with him to visit his family in rural Alaska.
As far as cheesy romantic comedies go, I didn’t feel too bad about this one. Largely due to some excellent performances across the board, The Proposal is often a surprisingly entertaining and pleasant watch. That’s not to say it doesn’t feature some of the most sickly and clichéd moments you can imagine, but for the most part, I was pleasantly surprised by how decent this film is.
Let’s start with what is easily the reason for why the film is often so enjoyable, the performances. Sandra Bullock and Ryan Reynolds are great in the lead roles, and have an excellently awkward and difficult chemistry that makes the ridiculousness of their sham marriage all the funnier. Bullock is particularly entertaining in the film’s opening act, with her excessively pushy character, whilst Reynolds is consistently funny with some of his trademark sarcastic humour.
Whilst the film’s story leads the actors’ comedic performances to becomes slightly irrelevant as the romance comes into play, I was very impressed with how much I enjoyed the two leads over the course of the first hour or so, something that I definitely can’t say for many modern rom-coms.
In fact, I’d say the first hour of this film is a properly funny watch. The story’s ridiculous premise works well thanks to the lead performances, the writing is simple but entertaining, and although the plot takes a completely predictable route at every moment, I have to say that I was really enjoying this as a laid-back, easy-going watch.
The problems start to creep in in the film’s second and final acts. Whilst Bullock and Reynolds’ brilliant chemistry works fantastically when the two characters are at each other’s throats, when the film inevitably turns more romantic, all that good work seems to go down the drain. Whilst they still do their best, the painfully cheesy build-up towards the film’s end doesn’t give anybody an opportunity to be really funny, and as I was never so engrossed in the film, watching it more as a fluffy comedy, I didn’t care enough about the characters for the romance to matter to me.
On the whole, as far as the genre goes, The Proposal is definitely one of the better films. Providing a properly entertaining watch for its first hour thanks to two excellent central performances and enjoyable writing, I was having a good time with this film. However, its far more generic and cheesy finale undoes a lot of that good work, and just doesn’t provide the same sort of entertainment value as the excellent comedy early on did, which is why I’m giving this a 7.4.