The Proposal (2009)

Well, this was on a whole new level of bad. But let’s be honest, I knew what I was getting into, since I already saw Fletcher’s 27 Dresses a couple of months ago. I had the lowest possible expectations about this film, and yet it still managed to surprise me. It’s sad to see films like this being directed by women. It was, however, written by Pete Chiarell and considering how the main (female) character is constructed it really isn’t surprising that it was written from a man’s perspective.

Sandra Bullock plays an executive editor in chief of a book publishing company – and as in any male-written film where a woman plays an independent, career-driven and powerful character, she’s a cold-stone and insensitive bitch, who lives and breathes for her job and doesn’t have any personal life. She’s also immensely feared and hated by her employees. This is how men seem to perceive women in power: they’re emotionless, vindictive and mean, and the only option of them having a successful career is if they live for the job and don’t have any life outside of the office. Having a family and a career? This is something that only men can manage.

But when the main twist forces her into spending more time with her male assistant, she suddenly discovers her kinder, joyous side – and consequently stops worrying about work so much. If she wants to commit a felony at the beginning of the film, so she wouldn’t get deported to Canada, she’s prepared to leave her job and return back home by the time the film is about to end. All it takes is for her to take one weekend off, spending it with her assistant and his family and finding out that what she’s been missing out all these years when she’s been working, was a family. Having a family, not a career, is what’s really important. And a man (who else?) is the one who helps her find these new values in her life, a new purpose, something that will finally manage to fulfil her otherwise empty life. As you probably already guessed, they also fall in love in the middle of her “soul searching”. And because she couldn’t possibly fall for a regular guy, his family also turns out to be extremely rich.

Another detail that can’t go unnoticed is how the only non-white person in the film is portrayed. A Cuban-American actor Oscar Nunez, who plays a waiter/salesman by day and a local exotic dancer Ramone by night seems to harass Sandra Bullock whenever he gets the chance. While all the other characters get to be sophisticated individuals, he gets to play a weird eccentric whose behaviour has more resemblance with a wild animal with no control over it’s sexual impulses, than with a human being. It’s repulsive that someone could ever write a role this offensive and got away with it.

This awful, predictable mess of a film somehow managed to gross 317 million dollars (it grossed almost 13 millions just on it’s opening day). How is this possible? How are people prepared to pay for seeing something this bad? Even if you’re watching it just to get some cheap laughs, there’s no way this film will leave you satisfied. I would rather watch The Hangover on repeat for a whole day than ever having to see this film again.

I saw this film as a part of my Year of Female Filmmakers.

The Basics:
Directed by: Anne Fletcher
Written by: Pete Chiarell
Starring: Sandra Bullock, Ryan Reynolds, Betty White, Mary Steenburgen
Running Time: 108 minutes
Year: 2009
Rating: 0.5 (and I’m being generous here! It deserves a zero)

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