My history with romantic comedies is not a good one. Okay, I cried at the Notebook. *Looks nervously at the man card floating in his wallet*. So, what I cried at Rocky and Bloodsport too. I feel better now. But normally, I look at romantic comedies and want nothing to do with them. But every once in a while, along comes a romantic comedy with a decent cast and a somewhat different story. Even though I can see the ending coming a mile away, hopefully the journey there is interesting and thoughtful.
Andrew Paxton (played by Ryan Reynolds) is the best assistant in the world. He gets to work on time, he always has the right latte for his boss, and his shirt always looks perfect (even if it is borrowed from a co-worker). He works at Colden Books, a publishing company and his dream is to become an editor, especially after three years of being an assistant. He is an assistant to the executive editor-in-chief Margaret Tate (played by Sandra Bullock).
Margaret lives for her job. She wakes up in the morning and breathes her job until she goes to sleep at night. She is not social at all, and is often seen at her job as a witch which she actually appreciates. She was also born in Toronto, CA and apparently has no time to file her important papers that allow her to work in the United States of America. Therefore, one day when she walks into her boss’s office, she is thrown for quite a surprise.
Margaret is being deported. She has 24 hours to leave the country. Andrew walks into the office as scheduled (to presumably whisk away for an important meeting) and Margaret thinks up a devilish plan. She suddenly announces that she is going to marry Andrew and keep her citizenship much to the surprise of everybody in the room including Andrew. For the moment, everybody is satisfied with the response, well except the INS and Andrew.
The INS is not happy, in particular the agent Mr. Gilbertson (played by Denis O’ Hare) who wants to expose the sham. However, Andrew keeps up the facade when he realizes his career is at stake. It just so happens that Andrew was going to Sitka, Alaska to celebrate the birthday of Gammy, the affectionate name of his Grandmother Annie (played by Betty White). Naturally, Margaret tags along since they both plan to announce their “engagement”.
Once, they get to Alaska they meet up with Andrew’s parents: Grace and Joe (played by Mary Steenburgen & Craig T. Nelson respectively) & Gammy. All of the women take quickly to Margaret who is not used to the family structure. (her parents died in a car accident when she was a teenager) But how long can the groom and bride keep the shenanigans from the looming eyes of the INS and Andrew’s father or does the couple have some real feelings for each other underneath this paper arrangement?
It’s really interesting to see a story where the roles are reversed, with the woman being in power (Margaret) and the man (Andrew) playing a second fiddle to the situation. However, as with any good story there are shifts to make a more even playing field as the movie wears on. Everybody in this movie is expertly casted and there is simply not enough space to heap the praise on the stars alone. Betty White is incredible in her small role and steals every scene she is a part of. With Betty sprouting phrases about “Satan’s Mistress”, you can’t help but smile.
Denis O’Hare does a wonderful job and so do many of the supporting actors in the film. The only negative that can I could really find in the film was the last twenty minutes where everything started to feel like a cliché and you could see exactly where it was going. There were no curveballs or anything off-speed, it was simply a fastball of eventual love thrown right down the middle of the plate. But it in a movie like this, it can be forgiven especially considering the performance that was given up to that point.
The movie is presented in 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen. Sandra Bullock looks amazing for her mid 40’s and Ryan Reynolds looks dreamy (I did that for my fiancées benefit). The colors are very crisp and the picture is relatively clear. It’s about average for blu-ray but honestly I can’t say anything really bad about it.
The audio for the movie includes a 5.1 DTS-HD MA English track that does exactly what a track for this type of movie should do. It keeps the dialog clear and most of the action stays in the front speakers but it completely compliments the movie. Everything seems to flow together at the right times and the surrounds that are used don’t seem out of place and only make the scene move forward. French and Spanish also get 5.1 tracks and English SDH, French and Spanish subtitles are included.
- Feature Audio Commentary with Director Anne Fletcher and Writer Peter Chiarelli: A pretty decent little commentary that basically gives you a lot of back info and does a good job of talking about the various scenes. They fawn a little too much over Sandra and Ryan but since those are the two big Hollywood stars, it is only expected.
- Deleted Scenes 6:32: Three deleted scenes here. This is one of the few times where I would have been totally okay with the inclusion of any of these three scenes. Each of them added to the story and could have been used effectively. They were probably just cut for time constraints and perhaps some pacing.
- Alternate Ending 6:35: As with the deleted scenes, this also includes optional commentary by the director and writer. I’d say I’m more happy with the original ending, but this is truly an alternate ending and is worthy a look.
- Set Antics: Outtakes and other Absurdities from the Proposal 6:33: An excellent outtake reel hosted by Aasif Mandvi who played Bob Spaulding in the movie. Lots of good Ryan Reynolds shots (makes me want to watch Van Wilder or Waiting again) as well as some of Sandra Bullock not being so serious.
- Automatic Trailers: Old Dogs and Everybody’s Fine
The Proposal is an interesting romantic comedy. It seems to have all of the pieces of a traditional romantic comedy but also seems to throw a few non-standard items into the 100 minutes. Well until you get to the ending anyway. The cast is as solid as you can get and Betty White is simply fantastic. The disc is a nice package, it contains some good extras as well as the rarely needed Digital Copy. I certainly recommend this to fans of the genre or anybody who likes Ryan Reynolds or Sandra Bullock. Also, a special thank you for including the real Rob Base/DJ E-Z Rock “It Takes Two” song and not some cover. Woo! Yeah!