The Proposal | Screen | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper

The Proposal

Cute, but only really for those so smitten by romance that plot doesn't matter

A high-powered New York editor (Sandra Bullock) forces her assistant (Ryan Reynolds) to marry her to avoid deportation to her native Canada. To "prove" their love, they immediately take off to spend the weekend in his ancestral Alaska town. The antagonistic couple forced by bizarre circumstances to pretend to be in love, whereby such proximity causes them to fall in love for real, is among the most recycled of rom-com plots. Is this latest iteration, directed by Anne Fletcher (27 Dresses), worth the price of the ticket? Only for those so smitten by romance that plot doesn't matter.

Bullock is game and likable, and Reynolds is less annoying than he can be. And per the much-buzzed-about nude scene, both are very fit. Betty White and Oscar Nuñez (The Office) get laughs as the mildly outrageous supporting players. And the scenery is pretty (though Massachusetts subs for our 49th state).

On the downside, I'm sick of seeing successful career women portrayed as sexless, brittle bitches who need loosening up via humiliation. Dogs and grannies are inherently cute, but here they get extra wacky-fied. And, unless this is your first film, there's not one moment you won't seeing coming.

The best relationship comedies take their time and let the developments unfold organically; they win viewers over with relatable situations. Needless to say, this isn't one of those films. From the employer-mandated marriage through the city-girl-in-the-country jokes (New York to rural Alaska for the weekend?) to the last-reel frantic rush to the airport, it's all too cutely contrived to really care about.