American romantic comedies can be really cruel to their lovers. In “The Proposal”, Sandra Bullock is a bitchy, tough boss at a New York publishing company (also a feature in US rom coms). Problem: She is Canadian and faces deportation due to some visa oversight. She takes advantage of her hardworking assistant Ryan Reynolds and blackmails him into marriage. When he realises he has the upper hand, he forces his boss to kneel and propose to him in public. She does so and subsequently cannot get up – he walks away.
Why must they be cruel to each other? It is because that’s how the formula works. They have to dislike/hate each other and slowly learn about each other and fall in love. It is all about the journey right? “The Proposal” is sometimes funny, sometimes sweet (Reynold’s family) but altogether a bit run of the mill. I didn’t really believe Reynolds eventually fell in love with Bullock. It felt like a very unnecessary beat in his character arc. He is already such a nice and perfect guy. He only ‘fell in love’ with her so there’s a happy ending. Even the usually charming Reynolds cannot this lackluster proposal.