The Proposal (2009)

The Proposal
Director: Anne Fletcher
Writer: Peter Chiarelli
Cast: Sandra Bullock, Ryan Reynolds, Mary Steenburgen, Craig T. Nelson, Betty White, Denis O’Hare, Malin Akerman, Oscar Nuñez, Aasif Mandvi
Seen on: 27.12.2017

Margaret (Sandra Bullock) is a good editor and she loves her job. She is not so much a good boss as her assistant Andrew (Ryan Reynolds) knows from his own experience. When the Canadian Margaret is confronted with the fact that she might be deported because her visa expired, she pressures Andrew into marrying her. But the immigration officer Mr Gilbertson (Denis O’Hare) isn’t convinced, so they can’t just leave it at the formalities. That’s how Margaret ends up at Andrew’s grandmother’s 90th birthday party. With his welcoming family and the two of them in a decidedly unworklike environment, their relationship starts to change.

The Proposal is cute, if you manage to ignore a lot of things about it (heteros are exhausting). I enjoyed it while it lasted, but it won’t become a favorite or a film I’ll revisit at all.

I knew that things wouldn’t be ideal with the film since the set-up is already problematic as fuck: blackmail, pressure and flat-out sexual harrassment are not good starting points for a relationship. But I was willing to overlook that fact to watch to idiots fall in love with each other.

And, you know, at least what I thought we’d get is a woman in the position of power which is a change for the way these things usually go. But the film quickly reverses the initial set-up to destabilize Margaret at every turn as Andrew can remain equanimous and retain the upper hand. He doesn’t have to change much, while Margaret has to go though a complete change of personality, to lose her brashness so that they can find to each other. And I’m tired of that dynamic. It’s just exhaustingly straight. And it isn’t the only thing about the film that made me shake my fist at the heteros of this world.

It’s fortunate for the film that it has extremely charming leads in Bullock and Reynolds as they manage to do keep the film afloat and made me want to put on my blinkers and ignore the annoying things about it.

But since I had to actively work at ignoring things, it wasn’t the easy, joyful watch the film set out to be and that I wanted it to be. So, if I’m in need of another dose of sugar, this film won’t be the one I’ll be watching.

Summarizing: could be worse. Could be much better, too.

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