2009-07-10 / Entertainment/Lifestyles

MovieScope

'The Proposal' - The Devil Wears A Wedding Ring
By Robert Snyder

Who would have put Sandra Bullock in an acting caliber with Meryl Streep?

While most wouldn't, "The Proposal" has Bullock playing an ice-maiden executive, comparable to Streep's fashion maven from Hell in "The Devil Wears Prada." Bullock's Margaret Tate even does something that is too despicable for Streep's "Prada" character: She blackmails her subservient hunk assistant, Andrew Paxton (Ryan Reynolds), into proposing marriage to her.

You may ask, "What's love got to do with it?" Nothing, at first.

A Canadian citizen, Margaret's U.S. visa has expired. Unless she marries a Red-White-and-Blue boy fast, she will be forced to fly back to the homeland and lose her job as a big-time Manhattan publishing boss.

The problem is, immigration agent Gilbertson (Denis O'Hare) is watching her like an American eagle. If this marriage is not the real deal, he'll arrest Andrew for fraud and send Margaret packing.

The scheme in place, Director Anne Fletcher ("27 Dresses") sets up the slapstick as the self-coerced couple travel to meet Andrew's family in Alaska and celebrate the 90th birthday of his wacky Grandma Annie (scene-stealing Betty White).

A comic highlight is when Margaret tries to feed the cute family dog to a hawk to get her cell phone from the bird's beak. Watching her from inside the house, Grandma is pleased to see that her new granddaughter in-law is playing so well with the usually discriminating pooch.

And, what would a cross-purposes-romantic comedy be without the close encounter of a naked kind? It happens in "It Happened One Night" when Clark Gable strips before the bashful Claudette Colbert. And when Diane Keaton appears suddenly nude before horrified Jack Nicholson during "Something's Gotta Give." Here, we have Margaret emerging from the shower room in search of a towel, while au naturel Andrew collides from the porch where he decided to bare all. It's funny and a good reason to show off the stars' in-shape bodies. As in most rom-coms, the comedy congeals into serious sentiment when the couple discovers actual love blossoming beneath the thorns. Also, Grandma has a near-death experience to keep the lovebirds cooing. Those interested in seeing Bullock stretch her acting wings toward Streep will find "The Proposal" a minor revelation.

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