Margaret Tate (Sandra Bullock) is demanding, driven and emotionally distanced from the other employees at Golden Books—all qualities that contribute to her success as the editor-in-chief. However, those traits don’t endear her to the other workers in the company.
Normally that wouldn’t be a problem for the reclusive publishing supervisor. But Margaret has just discovered she has breached the limitations of her U. S. Visa application and is about to be deported back to Canada.
Looking for a quick fix to her problem, she announces her engagement to her subjugated personal assistant, Andrew Paxton (Ryan Reynolds). The revelation unleashes a flurry of surprised whispers at work and raises suspicions at the immigration office where the newly engaged couple meets Mr. Gilbertson (Denis O’Hare). Reciting a long list of criminal offenses for participating in a "marriage of convenience," the government employee cautions the duo about tying the knot under false pretenses.
Yet despite the severe warning, Margaret is determined to carry out her plan in order to keep her job. Jetting off to Alaska to celebrate the 90th birthday of Andrew’s Grandma Annie (Betty White), the pair publicizes their upcoming nuptials to a houseful of unsuspecting family and friends. While Andrew’s mother (Mary Steenburgen) happily begins organizing a wedding, his father (Craig T. Nelson) suspects something sinister is behind the announcement.
Though the film follows a predictable formula for romance comedies, the on-screen antics between Reynolds and Bullock provide plenty of laughs as the conspirators both try to get the upper hand on the other. Meanwhile, each of them is facing their own personal fears and troubled pasts. Considering the fluffy nature of the script, the movie also offers some touching moments as the couple considers the effects their fabricated romance might have on others if it is discovered.
But while those factors all help elevate The Proposal beyond the average fare for this genre, some of the film’s content will make it difficult to share this story with your family. Along with a number of sexually charged innuendos, Andrew’s grandma frequently comments on the premarital sexual activity she believes is taking place behind closed doors. While out with the girls in the tiny Alaskan community where Andrew grew up, Margaret is introduced to the town’s male entertainer who does a striptease act and lap dance for the embarrassed fiancée. After showering to clean up from her uncomfortable encounter, the naked Margaret runs full body into an equally unclothed Andrew in their shared bedroom. (Buttock and barely concealed frontal nudity is shown.)
Given the great comedic chemistry percolating between the members of this cast, it is too bad the filmmakers invited so much unnecessary sexual humor to this engagement party.