Guilt trip

Rom-com road-trip is the season's prime guilty pleasure

by

comment

Being the year's best chick flick is sort of like being the world's nicest Gucci bag knockoff, an achievement, but a dubious one. Still, The Proposal is a crisp and effective exercise in rom-com construction, sticking unfailingly to the blueprint down to the last rivet. Everything is in place, squabbling good-looking singles forced to work together by an outlandish gimmick, with a quirky yet picturesque setting full of wacky friends and relatives and even a yappy little dog thrown in for good measure. Even the endless, cloying music cues are so formulaic they could probably be dropped into some other by-the-book comedy without notice.  

Sandra Bullock stars as the sort of ruthless, no-prisoners ice queen that, according to Hollywood, the publishing industry is wholly comprised of. The snag in her pantyhose is a visa violation on a business trip that means she'll soon be deported back to Canada, so she instantly enlists her long-suffering assistant for a quickie sham marriage. In a nice inversion of the powerful man-secretary dynamic, he caves (Ryan Reynolds), on the condition that she mellow out a bit and you know, "Stop eating babies as they dream." The pretend-happy couple then zips off to Alaska for his grandma's 90th birthday party, where they need to put on a unified cuddle front or risk being busted by the feds.    

Sandra Bullock is holding up a hell of a lot better than her fortysomething peers. Sandy looks great, she even has a peek-a-boo nude scene that gives us more than a hint of what a roughneck like Jesse James sees in her. She's also in fine comedy form and she has nice chemistry with Reynolds, who has slightly reined in his smug wise guy act, while keeping an edge.  

Amusing as the stars are, the movie is so utterly predictable that some of my fellow critics were calling out plot points minutes ahead of time. Of course, the audience for this thing doesn't care about repetition, or that it's a good 20 minutes too long, they want the cinema equivalent of a Snickers bar, gooey sweet and guiltily satisfying.

Corey Hall writes about film for Metro Times. Send comments to letters@metrotimes.com.

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Detroit Metro Times. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Detroit Metro Times, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at letters@metrotimes.com.

Detroit Metro Times works for you, and your support is essential.

Our small but mighty local team works tirelessly to bring you high-quality, uncensored news and cultural coverage of Detroit and beyond.

Unlike many newspapers, ours is free – and we'd like to keep it that way, because we believe, now more than ever, everyone deserves access to accurate, independent coverage of their community.

Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing pledge, your support helps keep Detroit's true free press free.