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The Proposal

Ryan Reynolds and Sandra Bullock in The Proposal

Review by Jack Foley

IndieLondon Rating: 3.5 out of 5

GREAT chemistry can rescue even the flimsiest of material and Sandra Bullock and Ryan Reynolds work overtime to ensure that The Proposal succeeds in spite of its many failings.

The pair play mis-matched lovers in the type of formulaic rom-com that Hollywood trots out with its eyes closed, but which somehow wins you over thanks to the sparks that fly between its two central characters.

When Canadian book agent and ruthless boss Margaret Tate (Bullock) is faced with deportation for not having a current visa, she forces unwilling assistant Andrew (Reynolds) to marry her in order to maintain her status and preserve her career.

In order to fool the authorities, however, they also head off to Alaska to visit Andrew’s parents in order to try and get to know each other better… and unwittingly find themselves falling in love.

Anne (27 Dresses) Fletcher’s comedy is a hopelessly contrived affair that ticks off innumerable “been there before” scenarios en route to its predictable ending.

Yet it’ll put a smile on your face in spite of any misgivings you have about the plot, particularly if you’re seeking something lightweight to relieve the stresses and strains of everyday life.

The main reason for this is Bullock and Reynolds, whose comic timing and genuine camaraderie works far better when being indulged than the larger set pieces.

Their banter is quick-fire and reminiscent of the very best on-screen couplings, but their more tender scenes together also resonate strongly. You won’t mind spending time in their company.

Less successful are some of the OTT scenarios that find Bullock’s central character attempting excruciating physical comedy with a dog and a bird of prey, or rapping in the woods with Betty White’s dotty grandmother.

The various members of Andrew’s typically dysfunctional family and friends also strike as many false notes as positive ones, with Craig T Nelson’s obviously estranged father a relatively lightweight incarnation, White’s grandmother flitting between kooky and annoying, and Malin Akerman’s former love interest not given nearly enough to do.

In spite of this, however, The Proposal succeeds in lifting your spirits as all good rom-coms should, with Reynolds raising his A-list stock still further and Bullock regaining her rom-com queen status after some genuinely forgettable misfires.

Together, they ensure that this is a film proposal worth accepting.

Certificate: 12A
Running time: 108mins
UK DVD & Blu-ray Release: November 30, 2009