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TOUCHSTONE

MOVIE INFO

Director:
Anne Fletcher
Cast:
Sandra Bullock, Ryan Reynolds, Mary Steenburgen, Craig T. Nelson, Betty White
Writing Credits:
Pete Chiarelli

Tagline:
Here comes the bribe ...

Synopsis:
Margaret Tate (Sandra Bullock) terrorizes her publishing house co-workers with her abrasive, take-no-prisoners management style, especially her overworked assistant Andrew Paxton (Ryan Reynolds). But when Margaret is threatened with deportation to her native Canada because of an immigration technicality, the quick-thinking exec announces that she and Andrew are engaged to be married. Ambitious Andrew agrees to go along with her scheme — if there’s a long-awaited promotion in it for him. Everything is going according to Margaret’s plan, until an overzealous immigration official makes it his business to prove that the couple’s engagement is bogus. To demonstrate her commitment to her new fiancé, Margaret agrees to celebrate the 90th birthday of his colorful grandmother (Betty White) — in Alaska. The editrix’s type-A ways put her at odds with her eccentric future in-laws with hilarious consequences, until the Paxtons teach Margaret a thing or two about family.

Box Office:
Budget
$40 million.
Opening Weekend
$33.627 million on 3056 screens.
Domestic Gross
$162.848 million.

MPAA:
Rated PG-13

DVD DETAILS
Presentation:
Widescreen 2.35:1/16X9
Audio:
English Dolby Digital 5.1
French Dolby Digital 5.1
Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles:
English
French
Spanish
Closed-captioned
Supplements Subtitles:
English
Spanish
French

Runtime: 108 min.
Price: $39.99
Release Date: 10/13/2009

Bonus:
• Audio Commentary with Director Anne Fletcher and Writer Peter Chiarelli
• Deleted Scenes and Alternate Ending
• “Set Antics” Outtakes
• Previews
• Digital Copy


PURCHASE @ AMAZON.COM

EQUIPMENT
Panasonic 50" TH-50PZ77U 1080p Plasma Monitor; Sony STR-DG1200 7.1 Channel Receiver; Panasonic DMP-BD60K Blu-Ray Player using HDMI outputs; Michael Green Revolution Cinema 6i Speakers (all five); Kenwood 1050SW 150-watt Subwoofer.

RELATED REVIEWS


The Proposal: Deluxe Edition (2009)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (October 9, 2009)

Try as she might, Sandra Bullock can’t break out of her shell. Typecast years ago as the girl-next-door romantic comedy love interest, that’s where she remains. Bullock does perform in other kinds of films, but none of them seem to go anywhere at the box office.

Even within those genre confines, Bullock hadn’t done too well in a while. She’d not had a legit hit since 2002’s Two Weeks Notice, and she’d not passed the magical $100 million threshold since 2000’s Miss Congeniality.

Until 2009’s The Proposal, that is. Audiences embraced this romantic comedy to the tune of a $162 million gross in the US. That made it one of the summer’s biggest hits – and the flick that single-handedly restarted Bullock’s moribund career.

In The Proposal, Bullock plays Margaret Tate, a demanding, pushy publishing executive who abuses all of those around her. In particular, she makes life difficult for her long-suffering assistant Andrew Paxton (Ryan Reynolds). There’s clearly no love lost between this pair.

Which makes it a big twist when the Canadian Margaret tries to stave off unexpected deportation in an unusual way: she tells her bosses that she and Andrew are engaged. An aggressive immigration agent named Gilbertson (Denis O’Hare) challenges the situation and threatens Andrew with prison if fraud can be established.

Sensing a career opportunity, Andrew continues to play along – as long as Margaret agrees to promote him to editor and publish his manuscript. With no other choice, Margaret succumbs to Andrew’s pressures. Margaret and Andrew amp up their fake romance when they go to celebrate his Grandma Annie’s (Betty White) 90th birthday. When stuck together, will love bloom between the mismatched partners?

What do you think? Occasionally we get films like this that veer away from genre conventions, but Proposal fails to explore any unusual paths. In fact, sometimes I wondered if a computer wrote the script. From start to finish, the film follows predictable trends both comedic and dramatic. We get plenty of gags related to the mutual distaste between Margaret and Andrew, and we see the way that they inevitably develop affection for each other.

Yawn. At least Proposal features a strong cast, though Bullock seems like a strange choice for the overbearing Margaret. Isn’t she supposed to be America’s Sweetheart or something like that? Granted, the choice of Bullock means we’re better able to accept the warm side that the character inevitably displays, but she doesn’t quite pull off Margaret’s mean side.

Reynolds never breaks a sweat as Andrew. Actually, the first act requires him to stretch a bit, as he usually doesn’t play a role as beaten down as Andrew, but once he gains some power over Margarent, standard smug, sarcastic Reynolds emerges. He’s fine in this sort of part, but he doesn’t exactly challenge himself.

It’s nice to see Betty White, though I could live without the standard Wacky Grandma part in which she gets stuck. She does bring more flair to the role than usual; in spite of all the part’s clichés, White adds a bit of comedy. As Andrew’s parents, the film wastes Mary Steenburgen and Craig T. Nelson. They don’t get a lot to do, so they’re lost in the shuffle.

Despite the quality cast, The Proposal can’t rise above its cliché genre roots. Every joke comes to us from a mile away, and very few of them score any laughs. This is forgettable fluff.


The Disc Grades: Picture B+/ Audio B-/ Bonus B-

The Proposal appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.35:1 on this single-sided, double-layered DVD; the image has been enhanced for 16X9 sets. Only a smattering of fairly minor issues affected the transfer.

For the most part, sharpness looked good. At times, wider shots tended to be a little soft, but those examples weren’t terribly intrusive. Much of the film appeared pretty accurate and concise. No concerns with jagged edges or shimmering occurred, and edge enhancement remained minor. Source flaws also failed to create problems.

In terms of colors, Proposal tended to stay with a natural palette. Hues took on a light golden tone at times, but that stylistic choice didn’t overwhelm. Instead, the colors appeared pretty clear and concise. Blacks were deep and firm, while shadows showed good delineation. Overall, this was a pleasing presentation.

I thought that the Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack of Proposal seemed fine but it didn’t excel because of a lack of ambition. Like most comedies, the movie featured a limited soundfield that strongly favored the forward channels. It showed nice stereo spread to the music as well as some general ambience from the sides.

Panning was decent, and the surrounds usually kicked in basic reinforcement. A few scenes opened up better, though, like at a club; that sequence boasted lively music. However, most of the movie stayed with limited imaging.

Audio quality appeared good. Speech was natural and distinct, with no issues related to edginess or intelligibility. Effects sounded clean and accurate, with good fidelity and no signs of distortion. Music was perfectly fine, as the score and songs showed positive dimensionality. This track was good enough for a “B-“ but didn’t particularly impress.

When we move to the set’s extras, we open with an audio commentary from director Anne Fletcher and writer Peter Chiarelli. Both sit together for this running, screen-specific discussion of cast and performances, characters and story, sets and locations, cinematography and effects, script changes, costumes, and a few other elements.

Overall, this is an informative chat. The participants are a little grating as speaking personalities – they think they’re funnier than they are – but they deliver a reasonable amount of good material. I don’t think this is a delightful piece, but it offers enough facts to make it worth a listen.

We also get two Deleted Scenes and an Alternate Ending. The first category includes “Phone Message” (0:50) and “Walk and Talk” (1:24). As for the “Alternate Ending”, it runs six minutes, 33 seconds. “Message” adds a little unnecessary exposition, while “Walk” expands on Andrew’s character. It’s not particularly strong, but it’s decent. The “Ending” features broad comedy that takes place on a plane. It's a long distraction and wouldn’t have fit into the final flick well at all; the existing ending isn’t great, but this one’s too silly this late in the game.

We can view all of these with or without commentary from Fletcher and Chiarelli. They tell us a little about the sequences and let us know why they got the boot. Their remarks are somewhat lackluster but informative enough.

Set Antics: Outtakes and Other Absurdities from The Proposal lasts six minutes, 32 seconds. Despite the unusual title, this is your standard collection of bloopers and silliness. Like the movie itself, “Antics” is pretty forgettable.

A few ads open the disc. We get clips for Old Dogs and Everybody’s Fine. These also appear under Sneak Peeks along with promos for Cheri, Legend of the Seeker S1, 10 Things I Hate About You, Lost S5 and Blu-ray Disc. No trailer for The Proposal shows up here.

Finally, the set provides a Digital Copy of the film. With this, you can slap the movie on your computer or portable viewing gadget. Whee!

Why did The Proposal become a major hit? I have no idea. While not an unpleasant experience, it lacks anything to make it rise above its romantic comedy roots. The DVD offers very good picture, decent audio and a few useful supplements. This is by the numbers mediocrity.

Viewer Film Ratings: 4.8333 Stars Number of Votes: 6
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