Well, if I could split the movie into two, I would say that the first
half is a superb Proposal and the second half is fairly traditional
Hollywood pablum. In the first half, the wonderful comedic timing and
chemistry between Bullock and Reynolds was terrific. The writing was
first-rate intellectual, snappy sparring, even throwing in some
literary references in the put-downs. Kudos to the Director, Anne
Fletcher, and the Screenwriter, Pete Chiarelli.
The completely different tone in the second half, I surmise, could only be attributed to the studios/producers stepping in and stating that the film must appeal to a wider audience. We, then, get lots of family characters thrown in, with a great reduction of Bullock and Reynolds mutual screen time. And when they do share time in the second half, it's more about slapstick/physical humor (cue studios/producers needing appeal to wider, a.k.a, younger audience). Maudlin music comes in on the soundtrack, letting us know that this part of the movie is supposed to tug on our heartstrings.
I don't buy the inevitable resolution either. I don't believe that it is supported well or justified by what came before it.
The 1st 45 minutes is WELL worth seeing. I wish the filmmakers could have pushed and maintained the pace and feel for the entire movie. Reynolds and Bullock are so good, they could be this generation's Tracy and Hepburn. I'd like to see them in another project that follows through all the way.
BTW, this film was actually shot in Boston and (the Alaska scenes) in Manchester by the Sea and Rockport on the North Shore with digital effects adding snow capped mountains. You might even recognize Motif No.1, a famous small building on a wharf in Rockport which has been the subject of many famous painters' and photographers' work. It was also fun seeing some of my local Boston area acting colleagues doing background work in the film.
Action / Comedy / Drama / Romance
Action / Comedy / Drama / Romance
The opening segments of the movie intersect between Andrew Paxton (Ryan Reynolds) and Margaret Tate (Sandra Bullock) as they wake up and get ready for the workday. While Margaret has time to work out and leisurely read the paper as she eats her breakfast, Andrew wakes to find he's overslept and leaps out of bed in a panic. Despite being late, he manages to pick up some coffee and rush into the office of a large publishing company in New York City just as his boss Margaret comes in. He fires off a mass mail warning everyone in their cubicles to look sharp as the 'witch on her broom' arrives. It turns out that Margaret is a top editor of the company, notorious for her cold indifference and iron fist, while Andrew is her assistant / secretary.Margaret begins the day by firing fellow editor Bob Spaulding (Aasif Mandvi) for failing to set up an interview with an author renowned for his reclusiveness. Bob responds by yelling at and insulting her in front of his coworkers, but this doesn't faze Margaret, who orders him to vacate the office by the end of the day and informs Andrew that, due to Bob's firing, she needs him to work over the weekend.Andrew explaining that he's planning to travel home for his grandmother's 90th birthday reaps no leeway. Margaret is then summoned to an upper office to speak with her boss, Chairman Bergen (Michael Nouri), who informs her that she is to be deported back to her native Canada due to an expired visa. When Andrew enters the office to fetch Margaret, she devises a desperate bid to stay in the country and maintain her job: She calls Andrew to her side and announces that the two are to be married. Andrew is too stunned and encouraged by Margaret's assurances to deny otherwise. Bergen arranges to have them go together to the immigration office to validate the engagement.Back in Margaret's office, Andrew tries to break away from the situation, but Margaret blackmails him into keeping the ruse up until she gains her citizenship, promising to swiftly divorce him once it's done. Despite his fears of being fined, or worse, sentenced to jail time, Andrew agrees. At immigration they meet with Mr. Gilbertson (Denis O'Hare), an investigator who sees through their ploy and tries to get them to confess. Though looking as though he will crack under the pressure, Andrew retains his composure and assures Gilbertson that he and Margaret are in love and that he's even due to be promoted to editor; doing a complete 180 on Margaret's blackmail. While Gilbertson is still unconvinced, Margaret insists and tells him they're planning to announce their engagement at Andrew's grandmother's birthday party that weekend, which turns out is in Sitka, Alaska.Once out on the street, Andrew demands that his promotion be immediate and tells Margaret to publish 20,000 copies of a manuscript he's been trying to get through or he will make a deal with immigration and confess. Trapped in her desperation, Margaret agrees and, upon Andrew's request, gets down on her knees and asks him to marry her. Andrew teases her but accepts.The first leg of their journey is in First Class on a transcontinental flight, during which Margaret quizzes Andrew's knowledge on her to find that he has been very thorough, while she knows nearly nothing about him. He reveals that he knows she has a tattoo since she once asked him to research removal techniques but canceled her dermatologist appointment. They are forced to take a second, smaller, and uncomfortable flight from Anchorage to Sitka. Upon landing they are greeted by Andrew's mother, Grace (Mary Steenburgen) and grandmother, Annie (Gammie - Betty White), who inform them that Margaret's hotel reservation was canceled so that she could stay at the family home.Margaret is clearly uncomfortable in this environment and, as they make their way to Andrew's home, is shocked to see that the family name is posted on nearly every business in town. She is equally shocked when she learns that the only way to get to the Paxton home is by boat. Since she can't swim, her fear is apparent, though Andrew tells her to shrug it off.Arriving at the family estate, Margaret questions why Andrew never told her he was rich. He plays it off by saying that he isn't but his family is. Inside they find a large gathering of family and friends waiting for them as a homecoming to Andrew, who's been away for three years. To Andrew's surprise, his friend Chuck (Michael Mosley) and high school sweetheart Gertrude (Malin Akerman) are in attendance.Andrew's father, Joe (Craig T. Nelson), confronts him about bringing his boss about whom Andrew consistently expressed hatred in the past. Having been estranged from his father for some time, Andrew defiantly declares his intent to marry Margaret before announcing the engagement to everyone. Joe is stunned but Grace and Gammie react with joy and request a story of the proposal. Andrew and Margaret improvise an awkward story of how it happened, playing off each other and laying subtle insults throughout. Clinking their wine glasses, everyone demands a kiss from Andrew and Margaret who oblige with a light peck at first but finish with a longer, passionate kiss that seems to surprise the both of them.Reassuring them that she approves their relationship, Grace sets Andrew and Margaret up together in a shared bedroom for the night. Gammie gives Margaret a quilt with 'special powers' that she won't divulge other than saying she's nicknamed it The Babymaker. Margaret tosses it aside for the night and insists that Andrew sleep on the floor.The next morning, Margaret is awoken by her phone and sees that one of her important clients is calling. She struggles for better reception and is told by Andrew, half asleep, to go outdoors. As she exits, she fails to shut the front door and the family puppy, a husky named Kevin, follows her out only to be swept up by a hungry eagle, which drops Kevin into Margaret's arms and swoops in again, snatching her phone right out of her hand. Margaret lifts Kevin in the air in a comical attempt to trade the puppy for her phone while Grace and Gammie watch from inside, thinking she's merely playing. Andrew goes outside to fetch her and tells her that he can place an order for a new phone to pick up in town. For now, he tells her that she's going out with his mother and Gammie, who take her to a local bar where they watch as Ramone (Oscar Nuñez), who Margaret recognizes as the man who was waiting hors d'oeuvres at the Paxton home, performs a dance to a remix of Relax. He places a veil on Margaret's head and brings her to the stage for a bachelorette strip dance, much to her embarrassment.Margaret steps outside for some air once her lap dance is over, and is soon joined by Gertrude. They talk about Andrew, and Gertrude reveals that he proposed to her after graduation, but she refused because he wanted to go to the city and she wanted to stay home. She's happy being an eternal local and always knew that Andrew was meant for bigger things. Grace comes outside to collect Margaret and, through the open door, Gammie is briefly seen dancing with Ramone.Back at the house, Andrew goes outside where his father is driving golf balls that dissolve in water into the lake. While Joe apologizes for his rash behavior over the engagement, he expresses his disappointment that Andrew chose to move to New York rather than run the family empire, berating his career choice as trivial and silly. Andrew argues that what he does makes him happy before rejecting his father's apology and leaving. When Grace, Gammie, and Margaret return, they find Andrew listening to an MP3 and hollowing out a wooden canoe in the yard, which Grace recognizes as a sign that something is wrong, as evidently the canoe has been a long-term project that Andrew usually works on when upset.Grace confronts Joe in the lounge and tells him to start being more supportive before Andrew decides not to come home again. Margaret overhears some of the dispute before going upstairs to shower. Just before she gets out of the shower, Andrew enters the room, still listening to his music, and walks out to the balcony where he starts to undress. Realizing that she forgot to grab a towel from the linen closet, Margaret tries to sneak out of the bathroom but is pestered by Kevin. As she makes a break for it, she runs straight into the naked Andrew and they collapse to the floor. Screaming at each other, they quickly cover up and run to opposite ends of the room and Margaret barely avoids using the Babymaker as a cover-up.Later that night, they lie awake and Margaret asks Andrew why relations with his father are so strained. Andrew eludes the question and changes the subject to Margaret and what she has a tattoo of on her back. Silent at first, Margaret tells him that she has two swallows meant to immortalize her parents, who died when she was sixteen. She warms up further and explains that she only acts tough to maintain a reputation; when Bob shouted insults at her, she retreated to the restroom where she wept. Andrew breaks the somber mood by singing It Takes Two by Margaret's favorite band and then asks her not to take it wrongly when he says she's very attractive.The next morning, Margaret wakes early and puts on some light makeup before Grace knocks on the door. Margaret frantically tries to wake Andrew and make it appear as though they'd been snuggling as Grace enters with Joe and Gammie and asks them if they will marry the next day in the barn where they were wed. Andrew and Margaret hesitate but quickly agree when Gammie asks if they could do so before she dies.The sudden decision puts Andrew into shock and he fears that if Gammie finds out about the charade, she will die. Margaret tries to console him, finding herself in a more caring mood before she leaves the room to change. Scared by her feelings, Margaret grabs a bike and heads down a trail in the woods where she happens upon Gammie chanting around a small fire, dressed in traditional native robes. Gammie invites Margaret to chant to Mother Earth to ask for blessing and encourages her to find a rhythm. Margaret starts chanting and to Gammie's surprise, breaks into singing Get Low. Andrew arrives and tells Margaret that her phone has arrived in town.They retrieve the phone at a convenience store, where Margaret is shocked to see Ramone working. Andrew takes her to an Internet caf
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