"The Proposal" recycles a plot that was already old when Tracy and Hepburn were trying it out. You see it coming from a great distance away. As it draws closer, you don't duck out of the way, because it is so cheerfully done, you don't mind being hit by it.
In The Proposal, she plays ruthless, friendless workaholic Margaret, senior editor at a New York publishing house, who terrorises her subordinates, fires colleagues at will and thinks that getting an author on to The Oprah Winfrey Show is more important than winning the Nobel Prize.
Starting the film as a borderline caricature of an unpleasant workaholic, Bullock convincingly peels back the layers of Margaret, revealing the pain behind her steely facade and the vulnerability that surfaces as she and Andrew get to know each other better amid the tense masquerade.
Andrew is a genuinely nice guy whose judgment slips when he agrees to the romantic facade with Margaret. Nevertheless, he tries hard to keep his relationship with his boss as professional as possible, which includes separate sleeping arrangements.
Bullock plays Margaret Tate, the high-powered editor of a premier publishing house. Her executive assistant, Andrew Paxton (Ryan Reynolds), puts up with her dragon-lady attitude and workaholic schedule because he dreams of being an editor himself, even though he considers quitting almost every day, just because his boss is such a terror to work for.
The two are so adept at comedy and have so much fun with one another, viewers watching The Proposal won’t be able to resist their charms, even when some of the plot veers in to unnecessarily silliness.
Despite its rushed opening and rocky finish, “The Proposal” is a romantic comedy that doesn’t break any new ground but works well as a date film because of Bullock and Reynolds’ terrific performances.
The Proposal must be the first rom-com to try and wring laughs out of its heroine coming under attack from a bird of prey.
Obviously, a huge portion of the film-going audience won't really be concerned by these issues, and if they laugh into their popcorn, or cry over their soda, then I certainly won't begrudge them their entertainment.
Despite its various flaws, I actually really enjoyed The Proposal as a whole. Perhaps because I could probably see this premise having been used in an old classic film, or because I enjoyed the pairing of Reynolds and Bullock
The chemical energy between Bullock and Reynolds is fresh and irresistible. In her mid-40s, Bullock has finessed her dewy America’s Sweetheart comedy skills to a mature, pearly texture; she’s lovable both as an uptight careerist in a pencil skirt and stilettos, and as a lonely lady in a flapping plaid bathrobe.