Posted by Irresponsibility
Catching the 5AM flight from Amsterdam to Ibiza is painful enough without the inflight film being a Sandra Bullock/Ryan Reynolds rom-com. In ‘The Proposal’ Sandra plays a hard-nosed publisher, who happens to be Canadian and facing deportation, who bullies her assistant, Ryan, into marrying her. An opportunity, you might think, to bust open a few wedding cliches, or blow a raspberry at the sanctification of marriage.
Alas. Clearly market research showed that 90% of the world is remains actively stupid and is quite happy having gender stereotypes shoved down their craw in the name of light entertainment. Thus we learn, in the course of the film that ball-breaker Bullock is an orphan, who can’t swim, and cries when someone calls her a “witch”, hasn’t had sex in 18 months (frigid!) and not-so-secretly yearns for a manly man to sweep her off her feet.
Luckily her hunky assistant, Reynolds (who is so desirable in a cookie-cutter Abercrombie & Fitch model kinda way shop girls and exes fall at his feet like helpless petals drifting from a wilting rose) is on hand to be her faux-groom when she suddenly has to get hitched or be deported to Canada. The joke is that at first she thinks he’s just a big pushover. Because when she says “jump” he asks, “how high.” Turns out – ho ho! – she is wrong. He is a M-A-N. And he wants some R-E-S-P-E-C-T. Before agreeing to the sham wedding he makes her get on her knees in the middle of the street (nothing suggestive about that) and then proceeds to blackmail her into giving him a promotion and publishing his pet project. Okay, okay, but she’s a bitchy bitch and deserves her come-uppance, right?
If only it ended there. They trundle off to Alaska to break the news to his family and throw the nosy immigration officials off the trail. When they get there it turns out that lowly assistant boy is the scion of Sitka aristocracy. They own the town. Literally. “You didn’t tell me you were the Alaskan Kennedys!” she flutters, dismayed. Now the appropriate socio-economic power structure has been established the erstwhile queen bee can hurry along the path to her transformation into milksop bride. Her phone gets stolen by an eagle, he cooly orders a replacement while she wails. She falls off a power boat and he sweeps her from the sea in suitably heroic fashion. She proves utterly useless at everything from carrying luggage to using an internet cafe. Turns out she’s not so tough after all, and he is.
Just in case anyone misses these oh-so-subtle messages there is some fantastic conflict between Reynolds and his overbearing dad, where the young ‘un gets to show off his father-slaying cojones. Grandma, the family matriarch, is half-senile and totally sentimental. But after a few days of being dragged to ropy bars and going on girly shopping expeditions Sandra cracks like the last egg in her rapidly withering 30-something ovaries, bawls at every opportunity and gives herself up for deportation rather than disappoint boywonder and his Kennedy-esque clan. The end bit involves Reynolds realising that now Bullock’s been fully inducted into brainless femininity he’s actually quite attracted to her and rushing off to save her from the nasty immigration agents.