Starring Sandra Bullock as the publishing-house boss who blackmails her assistant, played by Ryan Reynolds, into marrying her lest she face deportation to Canada, this is nothing but a faint echo of its myriad predecessors, which are too numerous to name. You know every tinny beat and false note by heart, from the implausible setup to the sprint-to-the-airport finish. The Proposal, in fact, appears to have been written using a secret cache of computers stored beneath Walt Disney HQ since 1978—code name "Pete Chiarelli," the first-time screenwriter credited for having pilfered every rom-com convention since the invention of breathing. (It was directed by Anne Fletcher, who stitched together 27 Dresses out of the leftover scraps not used here.) Or perhaps it's the product of a book of MadLibs, in which spaces are left blank for The Handsome Male Ingénue Specializing in Cocked Eyebrows, The Former Rom-com It Girl on Comeback Trail Who Looks 10 Years Younger Than Her Age, and The Ex–Golden Girl as Dirty-Minded Grandmother. Already filled in: Craig T. Nelson and Mary Steenburgen as The Parents and Malin Akerman as The One Who Got Away. And there you have it: HBO instaclassic! "Here comes the bride," utters the poster's tagline. Genius. Such great minds.
Bullock is running from something.
Opens at Metro and other theaters, Fri., June 19. Rated PG-13. 104 minutes.