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The Proposal


When a strong-willed business woman is suddenly told she might lose her job and be deported to her native Canada, she impulsively forces her ever-loyal executive assistant into a shotgun engagement in order to get a green card and stay in the country. The plan gets complicated when the mismatched twosome must go to meet his family in Alaska and convince everyone, including a pesky government investigator, that their impending marriage is the real thing.


Sandra Bullock has never been more appealing in the kind of "tough boss" role normally associated with male actors. The Proposal turns the usual romantic comedy tables around, giving Bullock lots to play with — and she certainly makes the most of it, painting a hilarious picture of an attractive and surprisingly vulnerable business exec caught in a situation spiraling out of control. Ryan Reynolds' sitcom expertise is put to good use in the role of her willingly unwilling assistant who must join her charade or risk losing his job. This is Reynolds' best outing as a rom-com lead yet, and he shows he could own the genre if provided the right material. Stealing the movie from both of them, however, is the irrepressible Betty White, who plays Reynolds' saucy Grammy. Once again, the Golden Girls alum proves she has comic timing second to none.


Knowing the standard romantic comedy setup just isn't going to cut it anymore, director Anne Fletcher (Step Up, 27 Dresses) turns The Proposal into more of a screwball farce, letting the laughs fly without forcing them on us. She's helped by two game lead players who really know their way around this well-worn genre and provide just the right balance to keep this merry soufflé from falling apart. The breathtaking remote locations (Massachusetts, oddly enough, substitutes for Alaska) don't hurt.


No matter how inventive the script, it's pretty obvious where things are going to wind up in any romantic comedy. But The Proposal, despite following the standard blueprint, still manages to keep us guessing until the very end and that accounts for most of the fun.


A scene in which Bullock and Reynolds accidentally run into each other sans clothing is hilarious, worthy of the best farceurs. A close second is a sequence involving a little dog, a menacing eagle and a cell phone. Classic stuff.


After 60 — count 'em 60 — years in show business, with six Emmys and numerous TV series to show for it, Betty White at age 87 still proves there can be second, third and even fourth acts in life. She gives a movie star turn here that shows everyone how it's done.


As an alternative to big summer action flicks and gross-out comedies, The Proposal is definitely the date movie du jour. rated this film 3 1/2 stars.