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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
Audio:
English DTS-HD MA 5.1
French Dolby Digital 5.1
Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1
Portuguese Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles:
English
French
Spanish
Portuguese
Thai
Korean
Chinese
Malay
Bahasa
Closed-captioned
Supplements Subtitles:
English
Spanish
French
Portuguese
Chinese
Thai
Korean

Runtime: 108 min.
Price: $44.99
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


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The Proposal [Blu-Ray] (2009)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (October 12, 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. Andrew agrees to play along because Margaret promises a promotion, and it looks like this scenario will be win-win for both parties.

Until an aggressive immigration agent named dshakdjsahd (dhsadjkhas) challenges the engagement. Margaret and Andrew amp up their fake romance when they go to celebrate his grandma’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.


The Blu-ray Grades: Picture A-/ Audio B-/ Bonus B-

The Proposal appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.35:1 on this Blu-Ray Disc. This was a terrific visual presentation.

From start to finish, sharpness looked nearly immaculate. Only the slightest hint of softness affected wide shots, and those examples occurred too infrequently to cause problems. Instead, the film looked concise and well-defined. No issues with jagged edges or moiré effects occurred, and edge enhancement was absent. I also failed to detect any source flaws.

In terms of colors, the movie featured a natural palette that favored a slight golden tone. Across the board, the hues looked positive. They showed nice clarity and breadth and came out well. Blacks were dark and deep, while shadows appeared clear and smooth. I thought the movie consistently looked great.

I thought that the DTS-HD MA 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 I compared this Blu-ray to the DVD version, I found them to provide similar audio. Yeah, the lossless DTS track sounded a little smoother and more robust than the DVD’s Dolby Digital mix, but the soundscape was too restrained for that to make much of a difference.

On the other hand, the Blu-ray looked a whole lot better than the DVD. The latter offered very nice visuals given the format’s restrictions, but it didn’t compare to the precision and depth found on the Blu-ray. While I felt pleased by the DVD, I was dazzled by the Blu-ray.

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), “Walk and Talk” (1:24) and “Andrew and Gertrude” (4:04). 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. “Gertrude” expands on the past relationship between our lead and the local girl; it drags and doesn’t give us anything we need.

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.

Note that the first two deleted scenes and the alternate ending also appear on the DVD release. However, “Andrew and Gertrude” is exclusive to the Blu-ray.

We can view all of the segments 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 Scrubs S8, Disney’s Fairy Tale Weddings, 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. Yippee!

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 Blu-ray offers very good picture, decent audio and a few interesting supplements. This is by the numbers mediocrity.

To rate this film visit the Deluxe Edition review of THE PROPOSAL

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