Predictable? You bet. Original? Hardly. But what keeps audiences of this lite-fare comedy in their seats is the undeniable on-screen chemistry between leads Sandra Bullock and Ryan Reynolds. The two are so adept at comedy and have so much fun with one another, viewers watching The Proposal won't be able to resist their charms, even when some of the plot veers in to unnecessarily silliness.
Bullock plays Margaret Tate, a tough New York City book editor feared and disliked by her employees, who've secreted dubbed her Satan's Mistress. Reynolds is Andrew Paxton, who has been her slave, er, assistant, for three years without any time off. When the Canadian-born Margaret's visa renewal is denied she forces Reynolds to marry her in order to avoid deportation. He agrees with the caveat that he 1) will get promoted to book editor and 2) they publish his novel and 3) he gets to take his first ever time off - going home to Alaska for his grand-mother's 90th birthday.
With doubting immigration officials watching their move, Margaret goes home with him but this city girl quickly finds herself out of place in the small urban town. Then there's the added pressure of sharing a bedroom and pretending to be engaged in front of his doting family. Naturally they begin to fall in love.
After recent stumbles with such duds as The Premonition and The Lake House, Bullock returns to the genre she's built her career on and it works. While she does not convince us that her Margaret is truly a witch on a broom, that aspect is soon forgotten when the duo land in Alaska and Bullock gets to mine her fish-out-water comedy as she teeter-totters the lush landscape in her impractical high heels.
Reynolds, who over the years has veered towards more action pics including the recent X-Men Origins: Wolverine, reminds us that dead-pan comedy is still his forte. Together with a veteran like Bullock, the duo play for physical laughs as engage in such comedic moments as accidentally colliding naked and singing Rob Base and DJ E-Z Rock's 80s hit "It Takes Two."
Director Anne Fletcher handles herself well in this territory; having previously tackled the Katherine Heigel comedy 27 Dresses. She's culled together a great supporting cast of veteran comedic actors including Craig T. Nelson and Mary Steenburgen as Andrew's parents and Betty White as Grandma Annie. These pros further add weight to Pete Chiarellis' script and provide great fodder for our already adept leads. The Office's Oscar Nunez is also hilarious as Ramon, seemingly the town's only gay minority who happens to be everywhere as he apparently holds several jobs.
At times though things go unnecessarily too far. A few slapstick scenes including Bullock chanting around a fire with grandma and another involving Bullock chasing a puppy and an eagle are downright embarrassing. But at her age, White clearly shows no signs of stopping - nor should she.