Saturday, June 20, 2009
Paragraph Movie Reviews: The Proposal
This movie is a textbook example of how good actors can elevate subpar material when they really try. As far as story and script, "The Proposal" is pretty cliched, not that well-paced and generally lacking in a lot of areas; in other words, it's an average romantic comedy. However, this film is so well-cast that the lean portions are at least watchable and the good stuff that could fall flat in lesser hands really shines through. I've long considered Ryan Reynolds the king of making the most of what he's given, as he always seems to make his portions of even bad movies very entertaining with his charm, and this is no exception, though interestingly he's more the straight man here, carrying the bulk of the movie's dramatic end and doing a fine job of it while also earning his laughs. The pleasant surprise here for me was Sandra Bullock, who I realize I really haven't seen in many movies, both because she's somewhat selective and I tend to stay away from the genres she works in most; she's the real star of the movie and carries it well, playing both the bitch and the girl you end up wanting to root for and providing a sensible progression beyond what the plot would seem to allow. She's also just really funny, both in her delivery and in her physicality. Rounding out the main players, Mary Steenburgen and Craig T. Nelson are servicable, but Betty White is absolutely hysterical--should that really be any sort of surprise, though? Denis O'Hare and Oscar Nunez make the most of their scene-chewing supporting parts, while Malin Akerman just looks pretty and says her lines. "The Proposal" is a somewhat clever premise with not such a great follow-through, but where it could have been an outright bomb, Bullock, Reynolds and company manage to make it sustainable in parts and very sweet in others; I wouldn't recommend you run out and see it, but if you happen to, the cast (and the fantastic Rockport, Massachusetts backdrop used to simulate Alaksa) will at least make sure you didn't waste your money.