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Wayback Wednesday: The Proposal (2009)

Uh yeah, I’d hatch a plot to marry Ryan Reynolds too.

Between winning an Oscar for her starring role in The Blind Side (2009) and starring in the The Proposal (2009), a romantic-comedy that made over $300 million at the box office, it’s safe to say that 2009 was an excellent year for Sandra Bullock. Yikes, although now I’m remembering that that was also the year my girl Sandra starred in All About Steve (2009) which may just be the worst movie of her career. Yes, even worse than Speed 2: Cruise Control (1997)! But The Proposal is hands down one of Bullock’s most beloved movies and it’s super obvious as to why that is. Sufficiently romantic and at times laugh out loud funny, this movie has charm to spare. Is this maybe the last good rom-com of the 2000s? I think it might be!

Credit: / Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

The Proposal tells the story of Margaret Tate, an overbearing and demanding book editor working in New York City. Her most frequent victim is her assistant Andrew who has dreams of his own of working his way up the corporate ladder and thus puts up with Margaret’s cruelty. To avoid deportation to Canada she bribes Andrew with a promotion if he agrees to marry her. He agrees and they then travel to Alaska to spend the weekend with Andrew’s family where their commitment to keeping up the charade is put to the test. 

I remember going to see this in theatres with my grandma when it first came out and ever since I have been thoroughly entertained by this delightful rom-com. You guys, I want more rom-coms with silly and outlandish premises! The 1990s and the 2000s were onto something and the result is memorable rom-coms like How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days (2003), 13 Going on 30 (2004) and While You Were Sleeping (1995). By the way, check out my review for that movie, here. I always find that the more ridiculous the setup the bigger the laughs. Case in point, it’s been 14 years since this movie came out and I was still giggling and chuckling all the way through. We will TALK about Betty White, don’t you worry! Speaking of While You Were Sleeping, The Proposal reminds me a lot of that other Sandra Bullock movie. Yes, mostly because the plot also involves a case of mistaken engagement, but also because you want to join Andrew’s family much like you wanted to join Bill Pullman’s family in While You Were Sleeping. I have a theory that the best rom-coms always have friends and families that you would want in your own life. Which brings me to the trio of fabulous ladies that The Proposal assembles. 

Sandra Bullock, Mary Steenburgen and Betty Freaking White. I am so in love with all of these wonderfully talented comedic actresses. As Andrew’s mother Steenburgen is as lovely and angelic as always but it’s as Grandma Annie that White absolutely steals the show. Watching her in The Proposal was so bittersweet because as much as she was making me laugh, I was also reminded of just how much I miss her! God, she’s such a comedy icon. There’s nothing I can say about White that hasn’t been said before. All it takes is the subtlest of one liners from her in that memorable voice armed with her perfect comedic timing and I’m grinning from ear to ear. In both this movie and in real life, White is such a wonderful kook. As a testament to how gifted of an actress she is, Bullock, who is so loveable and heartwarming in real life and most of her movie roles, plays a woman who is utterly cold and detestable in the beginning of this movie. By the way, I would be a bitchy boss too if there were this many employees CLEARLY slacking off and not working at the VERY BEGINNING of a work day! Seriously, watch that first office scene again and you’ll see that Margaret was right to be domineering to this office full of slackers. As much fun and different as it is to see Bullock play an unlikable character, one of my favourite scenes in the movie is the late night chat between Margaret and Andrew. It’s so revealing, vulnerable and the beginning of Margret’s dethawing. 

Bullock and Ryan Reynolds have a fantastic chemistry together. Duh, she’s Sandy B and to his credit, charisma is what Reynolds best has going for him. And thank God this was before he became too unbearable. He was still cute and had not yet reached peak annoyance. This is undoubtedly the most I have ever tolerated him. Reynolds wonderfully pulls off Andrew’s resentment and distaste for Margaret, his smarminess matching hers perfectly. Bullock and Reynolds should pair up for another movie. I’m sure Netflix or AppleTV or Amazon Prime would pay to put them in a rom-com in a second. Did you know that she’s 12 years older than him? It’s not often that you see a rom-com or any movie for that matter where a woman is significantly older than her love interest and it’s not played as a joke. Work, Sandra!!

I’m not sure if it was actually filmed there but The Proposal has ALWAYS made me want to visit Alaska. It’s one of the only movies I can think of that takes place there. I’ve also been obsessed with the room they stay in for as long as I can remember. The gorgeous setting is just part of what makes this movie so rewatchable. During this watch through I came to the realization that there isn’t a ton of plot to this movie. At least, plot that is dedicated to the romance between Margaret and Andrew. The movie has such great pacing but I wish there were more scenes of Margaret and Tate falling in love and less scenes of this “dad is disappointed in me for not taking over the family business” plot line. I suppose this helps Margaret see some sense of vulnerability within Andrew but I’d much prefer more scenes of silliness and romance. Preferably with the hilarious Oscar Nunez who deserves MAJOR kudos for going ALL OUT with that stripping scene. 

The Proposal holds up. If your heart is telling you that it’s time to curl up on the couch with a glass of wine, a nice fire and cozy PJs, than you’d be hard pressed to find a movie better than this to do so with. Ooh! Make it a double feature with While You Were Sleeping! I know it’s not exactly Christmas season any more, but then again While You Were Sleeping isn’t exactly a Christmas movie either. You know what? While you’re at it you might as well do a whole Sandra Bullock-themed movie night. There are a lot worse ways to spend a night!

Are you a fan of The Proposal?

Let me know in the comments or on social media!


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