Betty White can save any project, or at least salvage what little The Proposal has going for it. She plays her usual “sweet grandma” routine, although one with a rough, scathing side she is not afraid to show.
Think Lake Placid minus the cows being fed to the ravenous alligator.
The script by Pete Chiarelli could not have any more contrivances if it tried, mostly because every event in the film is terribly forced. Sandra Bullock is Margaret Tate, an impossibly cruel, heartless manager of a book publisher, played to the level of a cartoon character. No one would deal with this woman, let alone promote her to this level of the office.
Her assistant is Andrew Paxton (Ryan Reynolds), inexplicably forced to marry Margaret as she is about to be deported to Canada, much to the thanks of everyone who has ever worked for her. The build up to this deportation chatter lets the audience know how cold-hearted she is, firing an otherwise high-level employee and walking with her smug nose in the air. You can feel the impossible-to-believe coldness in the room.
Like so many romantic comedies in this modern Hollywood age, the two are of course meant for each other. How it anyone’s guess. Margaret must leave for Alaska with Andrew to celebrate his grandmother’s 90th birthday, creating that necessary backdrop for all sorts of goofy antics between the two as they pull a charade over on Andrew’s parents.
They find true love by falling on top of each other naked, being dumped out of boats, and developing stories on how Andrew proposed. Isn’t that how it always happens? Beware however, this is all a set up for the unbelievable ending where the man, of course, must follow the girl across the country (in this case, two countries) to reunite and express his love.
And this all happens during a single weekend.
There is another character, a suit from immigration that is on to this obviously mismatched couple, trying to find a hole in their story to deport Margaret. He is the only person trying to do anything right in this movie. Sending Margaret back to Canuck territory would be the only way to save the implausible script, and sadly, he fails.
The immediate problem with this AVC encode are the flesh tones. They waver in all directions, from orange, to pink, to some sickly looking yellow tint. It seems to correct itself later into the film, although the transfer still has some problems.
Color is nicely saturated, including some vibrant primaries. Contrast is well handled, and the black levels are rich. Sharpness is maintained, but detail is typically flat. Close-ups are well defined in terms of texture, but shots from any distance suffer from a general flatness. Facial detail disappears entirely. Some ringing is apparent with regularity, although minimal.
Despite its dialogue driven nature, this is a surprisingly robust DTS-HD mix. Music nicely bleeds into the surrounds, creating a full, expansive audio environment. Streets are lively with ambiance, whether in New York or Alaska.
An encounter with a hawk is nicely spaced, with the bird flying in from the rear channels as it swoops down to grab a dog. A forest is loaded with bird and animal calls as well, wonderfully separated into each speaker.
A sparse set of extras begins with a commentary from director Anne Fletcher along with writer Peter Chiarelli, before moving on to deleted scenes and an alternate ending (also with commentaries). A short selection of outtakes join some trailers as the final selection of a meager bonus menu.