Andrew Paxton (Reynolds) has dreams of becoming an editor and selling his manuscript, but as of now, he is relegated to being his boss Margaret Tate's (Bullock) flunky. Fetching coffee, pulling her out of unwanted meetings and essentially being her lapdog.
The power shifts when Margaret learns that due to a technicality, she will soon face deportation back to Canada. Always thinking on her feet, Margaret enlists Andrew to marry her so she can remain in the States. The only problem with the idea is Mr. Gilbertson (Denis O'Hare), an immigration officer who likens himself to the famous G-Man Eliot Ness.
Thickening the drama is the fact the duo will be visiting his parents in Skitka, Alaska for his Grandma Annie's (Betty White) 90th birthday. As they take their farce closer to completion, the twosome finds that spending time with each other is getting easier and emotions begin to run high.
While at their home, Margaret learns of the tumultuous relationship Andrew has with his father Joe (Craig T. Nelson), an overbearing businessman who wants his son forget the nonsense life he leads in New York and come back and run the family businesses.
The Paxtons are visited by Gilbertson, who informs Joe of his assumptions that the marriage is a sham and tells him what his son faces if found guilty. Confessing that his intentions are true, Andrew storms out and sets up a wedding day nobody will ever forget in Sitka. Margaret comes clean at the alter and now Andrew must track her down before she leaves New York for Canada.
With any other cast, The Proposal would have been a nice little movie. But with the likes of Reynolds, Bullock and Nelson at the helm, the movie falls flat.
Reynolds is completely underutilized. He's still enough of a force that he's able to conquer a script that paints him into a corner very early on. It would have been nice to see him pour out his charm throughout the film, but we only get to see glimpses.
Bullock was about the cover the arc of her character nicely, but again it was as if she was being held back similar to Reynolds. Nelson is exceptionally nasty in his role and pulls it off effortlessly.
I'm going to let you in on a little secret. Betty White is amazing. She completely steals the show from her two A-list leads and will leave you laughing throughout the flick. Her take on Grandma Annie is delightfully deranged, sincere and touching. She is the heart and soul of this picture.
Final Cut: The Proposal could have been so much more with the assembled talent, but ultimately it's just OK. It's an enjoyable movie to watch for the few moments where it achieves its promise, but overall it's a story that's been done and possibly done better.
3.5 out of 5 stars
Starring: Ryan Reynolds, Sandra Bullock, Betty White, Craig T. Nelson, Mary Steenburgen
Writer: Pete Chiarelli
Director: Anne Fletcher
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for sexual content, nudity and language
* Available now on Blu-Ray and DVD