My hopes weren’t too high for this movie. I’m not big for the prat falls of ‘Miss Congeniality,’ and I’ve never seen ‘Two Weeks Notice.’ I'm really more of a Sandra Bullock-in-Speed person. So while I find her very likable and am super into the fact that she married that motorcycle guy (though I can't help but wonder how on earth she's okay with him starring on a television show essentially designed to kill him), I was more attracted to ‘The Proposal’ by Ryan Reynolds (who I found just delightful in ‘Definitely, Maybe’) and Betty White (who is just delightful period). No one was more surprised than me to realize, upon leaving the movie theater, that I liked it more than ‘The Hangover.’ I was pretty embarrassed by this, but thankfully, over post-movie fresh fruit margaritas and mojitos, Sarah confessed that she did too.
Let’s get the negative stuff out of the way first: They really tried to make Ryan Reynolds seem a lot younger than he is (He was supposed to be playing a guy 3 years out of college. Can't you tell? He’s listening to an iPod! Look at this hip jacket and messenger bag he wears ALL the time!), the immigration officer part was way over the top at the end, and there’s this gag that almost works, where, because it’s a small town, one person appears to do every job (general store manager, catering staff, stripper, you know). If that one person wasn’t played by Oscar from 'The Office,' I think I would have been annoyed by it.
Negativity done. There was way more to like about this movie.
Most importantly, I laughed out loud. A lot. The “naked” scene has gotten a lot of play on the talk show circuit, and its payoff was much funnier than I expected. There was also a scene that involved Sandra Bullock's character, a hard-nosed, high-powered book editor, singing wildly inappropriate song lyrics ("Sweat drips off my..."), and a second scene with Ryan Reynolds doing an amazing falsetto that had my throat hurting from laughing so hard. Betty White was everything you’d hope for – over the top granny-rific, not above guilt-tripping her children & grandchildren by pulling the What-if-I-Die-and-this-is-the-last-thing-I-remember card, and with some great one liners ("She sure comes with a lot of baggage."). Mary Steenburgen played Ryan Reynolds’s mom, and she’s just so darn nice and mom-like, I really loved her. (Sometime after the early 90s - 'Prancer,' 'Back to the Future 3,' 'Philadelphia' - it seems like Mary Steenburgen began just playing herself. I feel equipped to say this, since I saw her actually play herself on 'Curb Your Enthusiasm.' So she really must just be the nicest person ever. Who’s with me?) Also, she wears really great sweaters in this movie.
Sure, the movie was full of overused rom-com clichés (They hate one another! Her parents died when she was young! She forgot what it was like to have a family!), but there were also bits that felt, if not original, at least fresh. Laugh out loud funny, I will gladly queue this up for any girl bonding night in the future. 7.5 Twix bars!
(Sidenote: I get a lot of flack for the fact that all of my Twix bar ratings fall between 6.5 and 8. There's a reason for this: I am not actually a movie critic. Shocking, I know. But I’m not getting paid to go see everything. So, if I've committed to paying $11 to see something, I expect to like it. If you get rated less than a 7, you disappointed me. If you get more than an 8, I will buy your DVD for our collection and probably also give you to someone for Christmas. If you fall somewhere in between, you did your job. I also try to consider/balance how much the movie was Trying, and a few other highly mathematical factors, but there's the basic logic. Do you disagree? Let me hear it!)