“At The Movies” 06.26.09
This is Ron Salfen, “At The Movies,” and here’s my commentary on “The Proposal,” now showing at The Majestic Theater in Greenville :
            We all know the formula to a romantic comedy before we ever enter the theater:  boy meets girl, they have a rocky relationship, with many bumps along the way, but eventually find love.  This movie closely follows the classic formula, so the enticement cannot possibly be suspense, because we all know where it’s headed.  They just need to make it fun getting there.  And at that, they succeed.
            Sandra Bullock plays Margaret Tate, the hard-driving chief editor of a high-powered New York City book publishing company.  She is focused to the point of mirthless.  Her administrative assistant, Andrew Paxton (Ryan Reynolds) gets her coffee, screens her calls, arranges her appointments, and takes her verbal abuse, in return for which he gets a vague promise of some future career consideration.  For three years, nothing changes, until suddenly her bosses call her in and inform her that she’s going to be deported (back to Canada), and she quickly informs them that she is engaged to her administrative assistant (one of her bosses had apparently married his secretary, which she pointedly reminds him of), and now the push/pull begins.  Paxton, seeing an opportunity to bargain for career advancement, agrees to the “business arrangement,” and they both figure they’d just get a “quickie divorce” after some appropriate period of time, and they wouldn’t have to change their personal lives at all.  But a disgruntled, passed-over employee tattles on them to the INS, and now they’re on the case, claiming fraud---a felony---unless they somehow “prove” that they are, in fact, in love with each other.  They’re supposed to take separate examinations proving their knowledge of one another (like “The Newlywed Game”?) when they return from the weekend to visit his grandmother for her 90th birthday---in Sitka , Alaska !
            Both Bullock and Reynolds are veteran, talented comedic actors who make this faux-romance work, and get us to root for them, besides.  Don’t expect any more from the “The Proposal” than what it is---a strictly formulaic romantic comedy---an enjoyable “date movie” or a cute, funny “chick flick.”  You could do a lot worse.
This is Ron Salfen, “At The Movies,” for 93-5 KICK-FM