No matter how much you covet success in New York publishing, walk away. Resist the temptation to marry your boss on a bribe, especially if she’s Canada’s answer to Anna Wintour. Andrew (Reynolds) just wants to jet home to Sitka, Alaska, to celebrate Grandma’s 90th birthday. Too bad, because overlord Margaret (Bullock) has been threatened with deportation to that well-known backwater, Toronto. If he helps her get a green card, she’ll get him a promotion. Everybody wins—except viewers, who now have incentive to root for the INS.
The lovebirds fly off to Palin land, where it becomes apparent that The Proposal suffers from an imbalance of sympathies. She’s a narcissist who can’t deal with having her cell phone snatched by an exotic bird. He’s a reluctant and very, very wealthy careerist who loves puppies and good books.
New York, you may know, is the most densely populated municipality in the United States, at least among cities with more than 100,000 residents. Sitka, on the other hand, is the largest U.S. city by landmass. Surely a better comedy would not inspire an intense desire to trawl Wikipedia. Bullock hasn’t yet assimilated the lessons of Katharine Hepburn, while Reynolds, actually a Canadian, essentially spends 104 minutes biting his lip. He won’t be alone.—Ben Kenigsberg