The Proposal (Deluxe DVD Edition)

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Rating: PG-13

Starring:
Sandra Bullock as Margaret Tate
Ryan Reynolds as Andrew Paxton
Mary Steenburgen as Grace Paxton
Craig T Nelson as Joe Paxton
Betty White as Grandma Annie
Denis O’Hare as Mr. Gilbertson
Malin Akerman as Gertrude
Oscar Nunez as Ramone
Aasif Mandvi as Bob Spaulding
Michael Nouri as Chairman Bergen
Michael Mosley as Chuck
Dale Place as Jim McKittrick
Alicia Hunt as Coffee Barista
Alexis Garcia as Immigration Clerk
Kortney Adams as Colden Books Receptionist

Special Features:
Alternate Ending With Optional Commentary
Deleted Scenes With Optional Commentary
Set Antics: Outtakes
Feature Audio Commentary With Director Anne Fletcher And Writer Peter Chiarelli

Other Info:
Widescreen (2.35:1)
Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound
Spanish, French Language
Spanish, French Subtitles
Running Time: 108 Minutes

The Details:
The following is the official description of the film:

“Sandra Bullock is at her funniest in the fresh, laugh-out-loud romantic comedy ‘The Proposal.’ On the verge of being deported and losing the high-powered job she lives for, the controlling Margaret announces she’s engaged to her unsuspecting, put-upon assistant Andrew (Ryan Reynolds). After proposing a few demands of his own, the mismatched couple heads to Alaska where they have four short days to convince his quirky family and a very skeptical immigration agent that their charade is real. Featuring a star-studded supporting cast, including Mary Steenburgen, Craig T. Nelson and the delightfully inappropriate Betty White, this madcap comedy will have you saying “yes” to ‘The Proposal’ again and again.”

“The Proposal ” is rated PG-13 for sexual content, nudity and language.

Mini-Review:
Two thirds of “The Proposal” is actually quite enjoyable. We’re treated to a battle between Sandra Bullock as Margaret Tate and Ryan Reynolds as Andrew Paxton. She’s the evil boss while he’s the abused assistant. The setup offers up all sorts of comedy potential as they make each other’s lives miserable. We see the other terrorized workers send IM’s to each other warning of Bullock’s approach. We see Paxton attempting to cater to her every whim. Then the movie shifts gears when they’re forced to marry in order to save each other’s careers. We’re treated to a whole new set of laughs as the two must pretend to be madly in love in front of Paxton’s doting family. Margaret and Andrew must concoct his proposal story on the spot in front of all the relatives. There’s a running gag about the ‘Baby Maker’ blanket. It’s all utterly predictable, but it’s fun to see unfold. There’s also a side story depicting Margaret as a ‘fish out of water.’ It’s your typical ‘city girl in the country’ plot, but they manage to make it funny. It culminates when an eagle snatches a puppy from in front of Margaret. (That sounds horrible now that I type it, but it actually is one of the funniest parts of the movie.)

Unfortunately, “The Proposal” completely falls apart at the end. While it was believable that the two characters were warming up to each other, the movie accelerates everything to the point that we’re supposed to believe they have fallen madly in love with each other in the space of a couple of days. There’s no scene where the ‘spark’ ignites between the two. There’s no scene indicating there was a hidden attraction before the movie starts. Andrew even says he wishes a car had hit her about 24 hours before he finally proposes to her. They sacrificed believability for the sake of running time and turned “The Proposal” from a potentially excellent romantic comedy to a merely average one.

As already mentioned, Bullock and Reynolds make a pretty good team. While they were a bit more believable when they hated each other’s guts, they adequately portray the attraction between the two. I enjoyed seeing Mary Steenburgen as Grace Paxton and Craig T Nelson as Joe Paxton, but I wouldn’t say either of them had memorable moments in the film. Betty White, on the other hand, steals the show as Grandma Annie. If you ever saw ‘The Mary Tyler Moore Show,’ you know she’s capable of being dirty, but it seems even more contradictory now with her sweet exterior and her ‘Golden Girls’ role. Scenes with her dancing around a campfire and faking a heart attack were a bit stupid, but otherwise she’s great around Reynolds and Bullock. I’m a fan of Oscar Nunez from ‘The Office,’ but I think he sacrificed a lot of his dignity as Ramone. He speaks with a thick accent that seems pretty fake and he performs a strip routine that is quite cringe-worthy.

If you’re looking for a light romantic comedy or if you’re a fan of Bullock or Reynolds, I think you’ll find “The Proposal” at least worth a DVD rental.

There aren’t all that many bonus features on the DVD. Besides the gag reel and the writer and director commentary, the most notable extra is the alternate ending. In it, Andrew attempts to relay a romantic message to Margaret on the departing plane. In the process of the message being comically garbled by the stewardess and the control tower guy, the INS agent causes a stir, gets tasered, and forces the plane to turn back around. Margaret and Andrew then are reunited and their love is expeditiously declared in time for the happy ending. Rounding things out are two brief deleted scenes.

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