MovieMantz Review: ‘The Proposal'

"A Romantic Comedy You Can't Refuse"

"The Proposal"
Sandra Bullock, Ryan Reynolds
Directed by Anne Fletcher

VIEW THE PHOTOS: Summer Movie Preview 2009

Talk about an offer you can't refuse, "The Proposal" is one of the funniest movies of the summer (after "The Hangover"), and it's one of the best romantic comedies in years. Thanks to snappy dialogue by first-time screenwriter Pete Chiarelli and terrific chemistry between Sandra Bullock and Ryan Reynolds, "The Proposal" is the best movie yet from director Anne Fletcher ("27 Dresses," "Step Up") – and that makes it a "rom-com" that even red-blooded males will enjoy.

Bullock plays Margaret Tate, a high-powered New York book editor who rules over her hard-working minions with an iron fist. Reynolds is Andrew Paxton, her tormented assistant who's paying his dues so he can one day become an editor in his own right. When Tate is faced with the prospect of being deported back to her native Canada by a hard-nosed immigration officer (Denis O'Hare), she pretends to be engaged to Paxton in an effort to stay in the country.

VIEW THE PHOTOS: Ryan Reynolds: 'Van Wilder' to 'Deadpool'

Paxton reluctantly goes along with the charade in exchange for a well-deserved promotion, but if they're going to pass the immigration test, they better get to know each other fast. So it's off to Paxton's cozy hometown in Alaska for his wacky grandmother's (Betty White) 90th birthday, and as the uptight city girl finds herself in one fish-out-of-water situation after another, her icy heart begins to melt as she finds herself falling for Paxton.

It's hard to make a romantic comedy feel fresh, because the same clichés keep being recycled over and over again. "The Proposal" is no exception – think "The Devil Wears Prada" meets "Green Card" – but what sets it apart from the likes of, say, the dreadful "Ghosts of Girlfriends Past" is that it has a great set-up, it's very well written and, quite simply, it's hilarious. It gets a little silly towards the end, but by then, you've already been won-over by the amazing chemistry between Sandra Bullock and Ryan Reynolds.

Speaking of Reynolds, it's hard to believe he's not a bigger star, since he's a versatile actor who can handle drama ("Definitely Maybe"), comedy ("National Lampoon's Van Wilder") and action ("Blade: Trinity"). "The Proposal" should do the trick, since it also finds Sandra Bullock at the top of her game and in her best romantic comedy since 1995's "While You Were Sleeping." They're game for anything, especially when they're called upon to run in to each other during one outrageous (and very revealing) nude scene.

VIEW THE PHOTOS: Sandra Bullock

The supporting actors have more contrived plotlines, particularly Craig T. Nelson as Reynolds' disapproving father and Malin Akerman as the girl Reynolds left behind. But TV and screen legend Betty White steals almost every scene she's in, while Oscar Nunez (TV's "The Office") is also very funny as a multi-talented Alaskan citizen. And in a trend that's becoming quite common these days, the ending credits are great and nail "The Proposal" as the next sleeper hit of the summer. So how's that for an offer you can't refuse?

Verdict: SEE IT!

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