[Thank you for reminding me of this movie, Addi!]
Last summer, Collin and I went down to Florida with his grandparents. It was a lovely vacation. One night on this trip we saw The Proposal. We didn’t know that one year later, Sandra Bullock would be a divorced Oscar winner, Ryan Reynolds would somehow still be married to ScarJo, and Betty White would be hot like Mexico, rejoice. But I think we did know that one year later we’d be engaged.
In fact, on the way home from the movies, we ran into a friend of Dottie’s and she asked Collin and I if we were engaged. I replied, “Not yet.” It did not occur to me that this was perhaps a scandalous thing to say, but for the rest of the trip Collin kept muttering “not yet” and shaking his head with embarrassment. Collin: I WAS RIGHT. Neener neener.
The Proposal is a charming and diverting screwball comedy. I use the word “diverting” not because the film distracts you from your problems, but because it distracts you from its own. Every time I start to think something like, “that’s a surprisingly racist line of dialogue and it is extra uncomfortable hearing it coming from the mouth of America’s Sweetheart Ex-Wife of a Neo-Nazi” the movie zigs my attention away with something like a hawk swooping up a doggie, Betty White saying something insouciant, or Ryan Reynolds’ abs.
Sandra Bullock is Margaret, an ice queen book editor with visa trouble. She tries to stay in the U.S. by pretending to be engaged to her long-suffering assistant, Andrew. She wants to stay in the country so she can keep her fancy job. It’s not like when she’s deported to Canada she’s going to starve or be put in jail for her religious beliefs. And Sandra makes sure we all know that she’s not an immigrant the way those people are, the “gardeners and delivery boys” at the CIS office [see above, re: surprisingly racist dialogue].
Andrew agrees to this because for some reason entering a sham marriage is his way of reclaiming his masculinity after three years attending to every need of his heinous B-I-T-C-H1 of a boss. Including “midnight tampon runs.” Clearly this guy needs to enter a loveless marriage, STAT, or he may never see his balls again!
Wait, what? Yeah, I dunno why a sham marriage is a better solution to Andrew’s problems than, say, QUITTING two years before the events of this film. But don’t think about that, just watch Sandra Bullock commune with nature with a performance of Lil Jon’s “Get Low”! She just said, “all you bitches crawl” in front of Betty White! Don’t allow thinking to ruin your chance to be entertained.
Andrew’s masculinity crisis is further muddled with some very teenage pouting over completely boring Daddy Issues. It has something to do with his family owning an entire town in Alaska. Oh, man, being fabulously wealthy is SUCH a bummer, right? The only thing worse is being deported to Canada.
Fortunately, the women in the Alaskan Royal Family are not as burdened by the great pain of their richness, so while the men get their pout on during angry boatmaking sessions, they welcome Margaret into the family. They throw her a bachelorette party and plan a wedding for her with 24-hours’ notice. In one day they put together a wedding that looks nicer than many weddings planned over eighteen months:
Margaret is an orphan,2 so she freaks out after being shown genuine familial affection. First she steers herself right off a motorboat, then she gives one of Those Speeches, at the altar, no less, about how she can’t besmirch such a beautiful family with a fraudulent marriage, and turns herself over to the feds.
The movie is almost over, so these displays of orphanly vulnerability somehow make Andrew realize he’s in love with Margaret! She is saved from a life of persecution in Canada AND a bitter spinsterhood in one fell swoop. And, a-ha! By functioning as Margaret’s maple-slashing knight, Andrew gets his masculinity back. Every marriage should be this mutually beneficial.
1“What’s a bitca?”
2Which makes The Proposal the THIRD wedding movie I’ve watched in which one of the main characters has dead parents. That’s over 20%. I swear I’m not doing this on purpose.