Random thoughts



The Substream's Film Lab

Home » Reviews

The Proposal – not too funny and not too romantic

Submitted by on July 12, 2009 – 1:14 amNo Comment

theproposalYou could argue that once you see one romantic comedy, you’ve seen them all. It is a sad fact that many writers spot a winning (sellable) formula and simply clone it; many times over. One fundamental aspect of a romantic comedy, is the “meet cute”. This technique is often used to instigate an unlikely between two romantic leads.

The Proposal starring Sandra Bullock (as the strangely named Margaret) and Ryan Reynolds as her slave/employee seems jam packed with these repetitive clichés. In essence, they have taken a country break, an unlikely fake relationship, a quirky family and a dog who takes the biggest , put them in a mixing bowl and Hey Presto! Unfortunately, this is what every single romantic comedy in the last 20 years has done. It is getting a bit boring now!


A pushy forces her young assistant to marry her in order to keep her Visa status in the U.S. and avoid deportation to Canada.


It has become clear over the years, that Sandra Bullock can play the romantic comedy lead very well. It seems from this film though, she doesn’t do so well with the role of a scary (or even “pushy”) boss. In fact after witnessing Shirley Henderson (in a BBC modern retelling of The Taming of The Shrew), Bullock’s attempt at evil boss is at best laughable.

Perhaps though, that is the point. After all she is accompanied by the smart, yet comical Reynolds and the ever-reliable Betty White (as a tree-hugging, silly chanting grandmother). This combination then is just too contrived to believe as inevitably, the ever grumpy character played by Bullock shows her softer and more vulnerable side whilst falling in “love” within the space of 107 minutes.

In a series of Meet the Parents style mishaps, a persistent immigration officer and Reynolds advertising the wondrous ignorant effects of iPod, we are flipped through what can only be described as a montage of a tale. That is not to say it isn’t good. Far from it. In fact there are quite a few laugh-out-loud moments in this comedy. Unfortunately the romance seemed to be a little lacking somewhat.

The blame shouldn’t really rest on the actors in this instance but the writer (Pete Chiarelli ) who made Reynolds and Bullocks’ characters apart for most of the film and amazingly (but oh-so predictably) fall in love. The very fact that a very lady and a charming man are attracted to each other is of no surprise to anyone. In fact with their charm I was quite taken with both of them. Surely, if I was more confident of my sexuality then I would jump at the chance to get to know her, or him… or both of them a bit better (not the grandma though; I’m not that confused).

Ordinarily this reviewer spends most of the time defending . After all, I was one of the few people that really enjoyed What Happens in Vegas. However somehow the pairing of Bullock and Reynolds didn’t seem to gel as well as Kutcher and Diaz (in WHIV). Perhaps some more thought should have been put into the casting of this film.

Over 60% of The Proposal seems clunky and disjointed. Most of us are aware that movies are often filmed out of sequence, but in this one, you notice it. Instead of a smooth tale of how an unlikely couple fall in love, we are expected to believe that they do so without really seeing it (other than 1 hug, 2 kisses and a 2 minute conversation).

The Proposal is an ideal date-movie as it has a strong female lead (closely followed by a submissive man), good comedy moments and a romantic element. The men are unlikely to find the romance too romantic (as it is scarce), the women will be happy that they can take their man to a romantic film and everyone else (me included) can watch and laugh a bit, but ultimately criticise it for not really being very romantic or comical!


The Proposal is the epitome of 4 out of 10. It has the potential of being very good, but is let down by 46 too many clichés, an un-scary Sandra Bullock and a romance that can develop between two strangers who hardly speak.

As a romantic comedy, it supports the very popular formula. However, it is unlikely to be remembered by anyone in years (or even months) to come. Watch Shakespeare ReTold (The Taming of the Shrew) instead. Now that is a true romantic comedy! As for The Proposal, it is worthy of nothing more than a mediocre rating: watchable, amusing but as original as my brand of deodorant.

Rating: 2.5 out of 5

(Incidentally: notice the over-photoshopping of Sandra Bullock’s waste. Surely her mid section is larger than her ankle!)

Comments are closed.