DVD Review: The Proposal

Posted on Blogcritics.org

The romantic comedy is a rather popular genre even after decades of seeing cute stars meet and fall in love over and over again. They are generally feel-good movies you can go to with your significant other, or perhaps with a giggling group of friends, and live vicariously through the sometimes cheesy, sometimes clever plot on screen.

For every successful rom-com there are about a dozen failures, but no one expected the level of success that this year’s The Proposal attained. Released right in the middle of summer, the movie grossed around $160 million domestically and it was only made for $40 million. This is basically a slam dunk in Hollywood, and it went on to great success worldwide. Now that it’s coming out on DVD, there’s no doubt we’ll see another huge bundle of money being shipped to the powers that be, so the question it … does this romantic comedy really deserve the amount of money and notice it received? The answer is yes, pretty much!

First of all The Proposal is an excellent representation of how the business world has changed. Sandra Bullock plays a high-powered, intelligent business woman named Margaret Tate who is generally hated by her subordinates but knows how to sell books as an editor-in-chief. Ryan Reynolds plays her assistant, Andrew Paxton. The gender role switch here is a strong point of the plot, with Margaret being in command and control, while Andrew resents being tortured and pushed around by her at all times. Everyone hates Margaret for her ruthless manner, and in many ways she could represent the current ‘vision’ of strong but cold women in power. But that’s not all there is to her, as Andrew is about to find out.

Margaret is from Canada and unfortunately her immigration status is under fire and she will have to return to Canada. Panicking about possibly losing her job, she announces that Andrew is going to marry her, thus securing a green card. He isn’t all too happy about the idea until she promises him a promotion for going along with the lie. They both realize they are getting into some dangerous waves when the immigration officer makes it clear they have a lot to prove. The duo go off to Ryan’s home in Alaska to meet his family and prove that they are a loving couple. Lying to his family is a little more difficult than lying to a stranger, especially for Margaret, who grows fond of her future in-laws. Mary Steenburgen plays Andrew’s mother, who is loving and welcoming from the get go, while Craig T. Nelson plays his much colder and less approving father. Betty White is a scene stealer as his charming and eccentric grandmother.

As you can expect, Andrew and Margaret start to fall for one another while put in this wacky situation. Nothing is particularly surprising in romantic comedies any more, and you get what you pay for. This movie has a lot more bite than expected, with both actors having genius comedic timing and snark. Their chemistry feels genuine and is probably the biggest selling point of The Proposal. This may be the most successful movie Sandra Bullock has ever made, and this must come as a relief to her after many hiccups in the rom-com genre. Ryan Reynolds is emerging as a handsome, charismatic star, although fans of Van Wilder knew someday it would come to this. The movie is satisfying and amusing, and for a modern American woman, rather appealing due to its strong, successful female lead character. If romantic comedies are not your thing, this probably won’t suit you. It doesn’t add anything particularly new to the genre; it’s just fun.

I got the Deluxe DVD Edition of The Proposal which includes the movie, extras, and a digital copy you can view on your computer or portable player. The extras include an audio commentary with  director Anne Fletcher and screenwriter Pete Chiarelli, deleted scenes, an alternate ending, and outtakes from the set. There are some very funny actors playing secondary characters in this movie, including The Office‘s Oscar Nunez, and The Daily Show‘s Aasif Mandvi. Plus  the girls get to see Ryan Reynolds (mostly) naked and ditto for the guys and Sandra Bullock. Who can say no to that?

The Proposal might not be the funniest or the smartest romantic comedy ever made, but it’s definitely got all of the pieces to become a memorable addition to the genre. The actors are great, the story is wacky, and they could make an entire movie out of Reynolds and Bullock sarcastically sniping at one another and it’d be a hit. That’s basically what the movie is anyway. This is definitely worth a buy if you’re a fan of rom-coms, or a rental for a nice intimate night at home with a loved one and a bowl of popcorn. The Proposal comes out for DVD and Blu-ray October 13 and is rated PG-13.


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