Sunday, July 05, 2009
Lighthearted Comedic Fare.
Since I'd no plans to go to the lake for the holiday weekend, at least one matinee was a must. Pam and I saw The Proposal Saturday afternoon, prepared to experience a typical chick flick, knowing full well it could be pretty crappy. After all, what might look good in a trailer months earlier sometimes fails to measure up in its entirety. We were both pleasantly surprised. Yes, the trailer does show FAR too much, and some of the best bits. But it still worked. I enjoyed the humanity of the characters, the humor in others, the beautiful faux-Alaska scenery (It was actually filmed in Massachusetts).
At moments, it felt a bit like The Family Stone, for me. But maybe it was just the ill-fitting, uptight woman in the midst of a nice family that struck that chord. Sandra Bullock looks terrific in this film and she really does a great job as Margaret Tate. Ryan Reynolds is able to shed his Van Wilder--Two Guys and a Girl image for me and he actually seems to be Andrew Paxton, editor's assistant.
Even though the film does employ some stupid humor tactics, the eagle snatching the small dog, the Gammie (Betty White) dance of thanksgiving in the woods, and the multi-tasking character of Ramone (Oscar Nunez, from The Office), I actually felt that each scene redeemed itself and went one step beyond the corny to actually making me laugh. This is a fun renter or a great matinee flick. Certainly not going to win picture of the year, but it was worth the time and money for me.
I am a fan of the Sophie Kinsella novels. While riding the wave of all the other Bridget Jones chick lit novels, I stumbled upon a handful of yummy British ones and these were some of the best. I really loved Becky Bloomwood and her ridiculous over the top shopping addiction. I loved the funny letters back and forth between her and her bank as she tried to avoid dealing with her mounting debt. I loved the irony of her landing a job writing for a financial magazine.
The film does their own take on all of that. First they move Miss Bloomwood from Britain to the US and set the entire thing in NYC. While it's not that disruptive to the story, it seems to steal a bit of the charm I felt in reading the book. Sure she ends up in NYC eventually but not in the first book.
There was a bit too much girly screaming in this book. I didn't love her parents in the film. John Goodman and Joan Cusack's portrayals seemed a bit over the top and not quite what I recalled. Luke Brandon, on the other hand, was pretty well cast.
It's been long enough since I read the book that I don't remember all the ways the versions differ, but I do know that I prefer the book overall. The film was fine and fun and typical and probably annoying if you've never been quite so overcome by a great sale on really expensive shoes. I'd give this one an "I liked it" rating and leave it at that.