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The Proposal (a J!-ENT Blu-ray Disc Review)

October 4, 2009 by  



“‘The Proposal’ is a hilarious and charming romantic comedy worth having in your Blu-ray collection!”

Images courtesy of © Disney. All Rights Reserved.

TITLE: The Proposal

DURATION: 108 Minutes

BLU-RAY DISC INFORMATION: 1080p High Definition (2:35:1), English 5.1 DTS-HD MA (48 kHz/24-bit), French and Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital, English SDH, French and Spanish. “The Proposal” on Blu-ray comes with a digital copy version of the film.

COMPANY:  Touchstone Pictures

RATED: PG-13 (For Sexual Content, Nudity and Language)

Release Date: October 13, 2009

Directed by Anne Fletcher

Written by Pete Chiarelli

Executive Produced by Sandra Bullock, Alex Kurtzman, Mary Mclaglen, Roberto Orci

Producer: David Hoberman, Todd Lieberman, Vitaliy Versace

Production Executive: Kristin Burr

Music by Aaron Zigman

Cinematography by Oliver Stapleton

Edited by Priscilla Nedd-Friendly

Casting by Amanda Mackey Johnson, Cathy Sandrich

Production Design by Nelson Coates

Art Direction by Scott Meehan

Set Decoration by Denise Pizzini

Costume Design by Catherine Marie Thomas

Starring:

Sandra Bullock as Margaret Tate

Ryan Reynolds as Andrew Paxton

Mary Steenburgen as Grace Paxton

Craig T. Nelson as Joe Paxton

Betty White as Grandma Annie

Denis O’Hare as Mr. Gilbertson

Malin Akerman as Gertrude

Oscar Nunez as Ramone

Aasif Mandvi as Bob Spaulding

Michael Nouri as Chairman Bergen

Michael Mosely as Chuck

Dale Place as Jim McKittrick

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.

The romantic comedy of Summer 2009, “The Proposal” debuted at #1 on the box office raking in $33.6 million and grossing over $291 million worldwide.  The film is directed by actress and director Anne Fletcher (“27 Dresses” and “Step Up”) and a screenplay by Peter Chiarelli (co-producer of “Eagle Eye”).  The music features music composed by Aaron Zigman (“Sex and the City”, “Meet the Browns”, “Good Luck Chuck” and “John Q”) and cinematography by Oliver Stapleton (“The Water Horse”, “Buffalo Soldiers”, “Pay It Forward” and “The Cider House Rules”).

The film revolves around Andrew Paxton (Ryan Reynolds, “X-Men Origins: Wolverine”, “Adventure Land”, “Smokin’ Aces”) who is the assistant of a Chief Editor, Margaret Tate of a New York City trade book company.  Margaret (Sandra Bullock, “Speed” films, “Premonition”, “The Lake House”, “Miss Congeniality”, etc.)  is feared by everyone who works at the firm and literally could care less of anyone’s personal affairs, only that they commit to their job at the company.

For Andrew, he dreams of his manuscript being published, thus he does whatever he can to be the best assistant for Margaret, even though she doesn’t treat him all that well.  But his dedication to her and the company is evident as he plans to bypass his grandmother’s 90th birthday, to proofread a manuscript (despite wanting to return home to visit his family for the big day).

Meanwhile, Margaret finds herself in a bad situation when her superiors tell her that because she went out of the country to do business, her visa to stay in the US has been denied and her status in the US has been jeopardize and she is being deported back to Canada in several days.  And because she will be deported, she will lose her position as Chief Editor.

Always thinking quickly, Margaret comes up with an idea that she and her assistant Andrew will be getting married.   Margaret threatens Andrew that if she is gone, that he will be out of a job and all that he worked for will be for naught.  Worried about his job security, the two visit the immigration office to discuss their pending marriage and to keep her in the country, the immigration officer tells them that if Andrew is lying, it is a felony and he can go to prison.  So, the immigration officers gives them a chance to end their charade but Andrew pushes on that the two are in love and are getting married but first they are going on a family trip to his home in Sitka, Alaska for three days.  The immigration officers tells them that when they return on Monday, he will be questioning them and if it doesn’t pan out, they could be in big trouble.

And thus both Andrew and Margaret come up with a plan.  The two will get to know each other during the vacation but because of the risk of felony, Andrew raises his stake in their agreement.   He wiill marry her if she gives him the position as editor, pays him $250,000 and publishes his manuscript.  Margaret agrees and the two head off to Alaska where they join Andrew’s father Joe (Craig T. Nelson, “Coach”, “My Name Is Earl”, “The District), his mother Grace (Mary Steenburgen, “Joan of Arcadia”, “I Am Sam”, “Ink”, “Back to the Future III”) and his grandmother Grandma Annie (Betty White, “Golden Girls”, “Boston Legal”, “Mary Tyler Moore Show”).

The two must fool his family in making them believe that they are a true couple and are really in love but what happens when during the three days they spend with each other, they start to develop true feelings for one another?

VIDEO & AUDIO:

“The Proposal” is featured in 1080p High Definition (2:35:1) and for the most part, the film looks very good as we get good detail on the lush environment and colors are quite vibrant.  If there is one problem that I had, it’s the fact that the CG is quite evident on High Definition.  The film was shot in Massachusetts but in order to make it look like Sitka, Alaska…it took a lot of visual effects to create that atmosphere of mountains, lush green trees, fog and all that one would expect from that Alaskan environment.  Granted, the visual effects company did a great job and from those who lived in Sitka have commented that the film does capture some of that Sitka beauty but in HD, for those with a good eye, you can tell that the scenery at times, looks quite artificial.  But overall, there is a good amount of grain, good detail in the environments and skin tones are natural.  No sign of compression artifacts or any blemishes.

As for the audio, lossless audio track is featured in English 5.1 DTS-HD MA (48 kHz/24-bit), French and Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital.  The film is dialogue driven and is front and center channel most of the time.  There are certain scenes such as a strip join that Andrew’s mother and grandmother take Margaret to (via a bachelorette party) and there is a good amount of surround that you can hear of the ladies in the strip club all yelling and cooing at the stripper.  But overall, a tame soundscape but overall, clear and understandable and sounds very good via lossless.

Subtitles are in English SDH, French and Spanish.

SPECIAL FEATURES

“The Proposal” comes with a second disc, which is the digital copy of the film.   The following special features included are:

  • Deleted Scenes –  Exclusive to Blu-ray, the following segment features three deleted scenes: Phone Message (6:30), Walk and Talk (5:33) and Andrew and Gertrude (4:05).  One can listen to the commentary with optional commentary by Director Anne Fletcher and Writer Peter Chiarelli.
  • Alternate Ending – (6:33)  The alternate ending shot before the final cut and was shown at the test screening.  Featuring optional commentary by Director Anne Fletcher and Writer Peter Chiarelli.
  • Set Antics: Outtakes and Other Absurdities from The Proposal – (6:32) Crazy antics behind-the-scenes of “The Proposal” and bloopers.
  • Audio Commentary – Featuring optional audio commentary by Director Anne Fletcher and Writer Peter Chiarelli.  The commentary is quite enjoyable and both Fletcehr and Chiarelli have good chemistry on the commentary and it’s not dominated by one person.  Both have fun while discussing the various scenes and challenges.  But also, what they enjoyed about working with the various talents.

EASTER EGG: For the upcoming Blu-ray “The Proposal”, the following easter egg is how visual effects created the atmosphere of Sitka, Alaska despite shooting in Massachusetts (1:54).

To access the Easter egg, click on Bonus features and highlight “Deleted Scenes”, now press up and you will get a silhouette of Alaska. Click on the Silhouette and you will access the Easter egg.

Although films about deportation is nothing new in Hollywood, you have to admit that “The Proposal” is a charming film.  I have to admit that at first, I was skeptical of the chemistry between Sandra Bullock than Ryan Reynolds.  Sandra who is 12 years older than Ryan Reynolds, who we have seen in past with the “Van Wilder” and “Harold & Kumar go to White Castle” films, personally I couldn’t see a connection.

But its the writing of Peter Chiarelli that makes the storyline make sense.  Sandra Bullock as the demanding chief editor Margaret, is crude but does her job incredibly well, while Ryan Reynolds plays the executive assistant Andrew.  Its just about circumstances that bring these two closer together.  As it is mentioned during the film during their charade, their relationship is something that shouldn’t be happening.  And that is what makes the situation quite interesting is the fact that the two are opposite and it’s Andrew’s family that starts to change Margaret.  Having experience the whole family bonding, something that she clearly is unfamiliar with and that is why she has been hard on her employees.  But the two have chemistry and both characters interact well with each other.

Both Mary Steenburgen and Craig T. Nelson do a good job in playing Andrew’s parents but what gives the film it’s extra “oomf” is Grandma Annie played by Betty White.  Betty White has always been a fun character to watch (especially for those who watched her on “Golden Girls”) but in “The Proposal”, Betty White truly shines.

For the most part, the film is quite hilarious, especially the character of Ramone (Oscar Nunez, “The Office”) who plays the town’s caterer, stripper, shop owner and even pastor.  How he’s utilized is quite hilarious but he definitely brings some comedy for his short role in the film.

As for the Blu-ray, as mentioned previously, “The Proposal” is a vibrant looking film.  The picture quality looks great but at the same time, I think it definitely enhances the visual effects to the point where it made certain parts of the film seem a bit unrealistic.  But for the most part, according to Alaskans, the filmmakers managed to make Massachusetts look a bit like Sitka, Alaska.  And as for the special features, the outtakes were hilarious and the alternate ending, let’s just say I’m glad test audiences didn’t agree with it and a new ending was created.

Some may be wondering about the film’s PG-13 and the mention of nudity.  There is no nudity showing a person’s private parts but for the most part, those parts are covered by the talent and so, they are semi-nude.  But there is no all out nudity in this film.

Overall, “The Proposal” manages to be a pleasant, hilarious and charming romantic comedy.  And for those of us who enjoy Sandra Bullock’s work can only be happy to see her return to the big screen and still look incredible.  As for Betty White, she still manages to entertain and make people laugh for so many years.  If you are wanting a fun and entertaining film, definitely a romantic comedy worth checking out!






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