Friday, July 31, 2009

Running on Charm [A Movie Review]

The Proposal
Opened on June 19th 2009
Directed by Anne Fletcher
Written by Pete Chiarelli

The concept is rather dull and uninventive: A hellish employer threatened by deportation bullies her assistant into a fraudulent engagement. Margaret (Sandra Bullock) is a tough no-nonsense editor that's hated by the office underlings, and Andrew(Ryan Reynolds) is a dedicated wish full filler desperate for promotion and publication after three long years under Margaret's relentless business practice. Their business-like, mutually beneficial engagement brings them to Andrew's home town where, in order to convince immigration officials, they announce their engagement to Andrew's family. Surprise, surprise, once the playing field levels out (their fates tied together), they don't get along too well.

To talk about this film as something creatively written seems absurd. In truth, like most comedies today, it's a hodgepodge of plot and comedic elements already tired bordering on dead. An eccentric old person, an inexplicable foreigner, some slapstick, and of course two "incompatible" people destined to develop feelings for one another. However, should you hold that against the film is a personal choice. With a concept so unshamefully recycled it seems hardly fair. After all, you don't criticize the handicapped if they can't color within the lines. If you can stomach the conceit then it's likely the rest will go down without too many hiccups (and be certain there are a few).

There is nothing about the creative aspects of this film that make it worth watching, but what this film does have is a tremendously likable cast that shines more as themselves than they do as their fairly simplistic characters. Ryan Reynolds and Sandra Bullock have been in their fair share of clunkers (I don't believe there is a good Ryan Reynolds film. I've never seen an entire movie of his before now, but I've watched large sections of them for him alone) and The Proposal may not be much different but together the stars have a gooey warm chemistry (gross!) that makes you want them together, and maybe even sparks a bit of envy. When they're on screen it's often difficult not to smile, even under the bone-crushing weight of the films more abysmal moments. With any other cast this film would be nothing short of dreadful, but they make it work through their own force of will and charisma.

In short-- you can leave this film happy, and if the sick feeling of knowing you enjoyed a film from the Hollywood mastermold doesn't catch up to you, you might even remember it fondly. If pretty people with good personalities and solid chemistry isn't enough, and admittedly it's usually not, then avoid it without regret. However, if mind-numbing gut-level appeal is enough for a rainy afternoon go right on ahead.


1 comment:

CC44 said...

I really do enjoy Ryan Reynolds; I'd like him to be in some really good movies. He was in Adventureland, and that was a corker, so you can put one up on the board!