I am pretty sure that this next review is going to shatter my impeccable reputation as a stone-cold ol’ G, but I can’t hold it in any longer. I have got to declare my love for the film, The Proposal.
On the surface, The Proposal is a bog standard, run-of-the-mill, very white romantic comedy. All the elements are there – you have the unlikely couple played by Sandra Bullock and Ryan Reynolds being put in a very unusual situation where they have to marry each other. Hilarity ensues.
Where this film is different from other generic rom-coms is that it takes great care in shaping its characters, to an extent where you actually give a damn about what happens to them.
Sandra Bullock’s Margret Tate pretty much epitomises this film. Everyone has had a boss like Tate, a horrible piece of work that you and colleagues mock but are also terrified of. This character could have been an unlikeable hot mess but the film slowly adds soul to Tate, you begin to see her heart thaw. You understand why she is hard hearted when you discover that her parents died when she was 16 years old. You also get a different perspective on a scene earlier in the film, where she fires one of her office rivals, when you discover that she locked herself in the bathroom to cry after the confrontation. I guess it is hard for men to truly appreciate how difficult the work place can be for women – especially if they are in very senior positions. In the places I’ve worked, words like bitch and witch and s**t get thrown about with such alarming regularity you think them acceptable.
Ryan Reynolds’s Andrew Paxton also makes an equally surprising evolution in the film. I expected him to be your typical beefcake of a character – only there to be eye candy for the ladies and gay fellas. But once the film move on to Alaska you discover that Paxton is carrying a whole load of family baggage – something I can absolutely sympathise with. Although I’m not from a rich family (sigh), I absolutely understand how it feels like to be crushed by the expectations of your relatives who do not understand or respect your ambitions. He goes from being a bumbling sheep/ slave to Tate to being a very strong character.
Importantly, the journey Margret and Andrew make in this film feels genuine and cathartic – this cannot be said for many modern day romantic comedies.
Besides the gravitas of the characters, there are moments of absolute joy in this film – top of which is where Bullock and Betty White’s characters twerk (yes, twerk) to Lil John’s Get Low. I cringed so much but I couldn’t turn away from the screen and the scene wore me down to the point where I was laughing uncontrollably.
But for real – don’t get any ideas from this review… I am still a gangster. Never forget that.