So last night My Lovely Wife and I watched The Proposal, for what they used to call shits and giggles, and also in the inquisitive "how bad can it be, really?" spirit. Well, as bad as all that, and worse. I see from the DVD box that the amiable Pete Hammond called it "the year's best comedy." Now I know humor is very subjective and such, but trust me, if this movie were the ONLY comedy to emerge, say, in a year in which the scenario of Cormac McCarthy's The Road came true, it still would not be that year's best comedy. Just saying.
Somewhat more troubling was just how shoddily made the damn thing was. As has been widely publicized, while much of the film is set on an island off the Alaskan coast, most of The Proposal was shot in Rockport, Massachusetts. Since the coast of Rockport faces out to the Atlantic Ocean rather than Alaska's rugged shores, the mountains and forests of said shores were CGI-ed in. Like, believe it or not, so:
Wow, and people complain about Hitchcock's rear projection. Five bucks to anybody who can give me a plausible source for the light coming off the left side of costar Ryan Reynolds' face.
The picture's also replete with bad cuts, which are rather difficult to illustrate with stills. There'll be a cut on a specific motion—a character's arm going down after taking a swig of scotch, for instance—to a reverse shot in which it's absolutely clear that whatever the actor playing the character had been doing before the camera started rolling, he wasn't moving. I stopped counting at around a half-dozen. The editor on this mess was the memorably named Priscilla Nedd-Friendly, whose CV includes such damnable works as Big Momma's House 2 and American Pie, but also the much more competent Tucker: A Man And His Dream and American Gigolo, so I'm inclined to place the blame on the nature of director Anne Fletcher's, ahem, "coverage."
As André Bazin would tell you, the studio system was the entity that really perfected "invisible editing," and these days it seems it can't even demand common craftsmanship of its dumbass romantic comedies. A bad sign, to be sure.