Canadian boss from hell fights deportation.

Jeffrey Wells doesn’t buy the idea that a 32-year-old like Ryan Reynolds would hook up with a 44-year-old like Sandra Bullock, as apparently happens in The Proposal — or, since the relationship between these two characters is a lie (at least at first), perhaps his complaint is that the other characters wouldn’t buy it. But I have one or two quibbles of my own after seeing this trailer:

Click here if the video file above doesn’t play properly.

First, it looks like Bullock’s character is supposed to be a boss from hell who suddenly has to pretend to be nice in order to “sell” the idea that she and Reynolds are getting married — but all I’m seeing is the actress, the nice girl next door who now has to pretend to be the boss from hell simply because the script requires her to do so. So there’s a serious credibility issue here.

Second, when Bullock’s character is told that her visa application fell through and she is going to be deported, she replies: “It’s not like I’m an immigrant or something. I’m from Canada!” I find this reaction implausible at best, and damning at worst, since Canadians in general are very conscious of the fact that we are not Americans, and indeed many of us would be offended (mildly or otherwise) if an American were to say that Canada isn’t really a separate country. So I wouldn’t be surprised if many Canadian audience members, on hearing this line, immediately branded Bullock’s character a traitor to her own kind.

As it happens, while Bullock herself is an American, her co-star, Reynolds, is a Canadian — and a native Vancouverite, at that. And he’s playing the American that Bullock’s character tries to marry! So I’d love to hear his thoughts on this matter.

On the plus side, if this film succeeds in spreading the idea that a Canadian can be the boss from hell, then maybe that will help to subvert the stereotype which says that Canadians are all nice and polite. Then again, it might also perpetuate the notion that rude Canadians have to go to America to feel like they belong. Oh well.

Final thought on the trailer: Is it just me, or is Mary Steenburgen, as one of Reynolds’ Alaskan relatives, channeling a bit of Sarah Palin?

About Peter T. Chattaway

Peter T. Chattaway was the regular film critic for BC Christian News from 1992 to 2011. In addition to his award-winning film column for that paper, his news and opinion pieces have appeared in such publications as Books & Culture, Christianity Today, Bible Review and the Vancouver Sun. He has also contributed essays to the books Re-Viewing The Passion: Mel Gibson’s Film and Its Critics (Palgrave Macmillan, 2004), Scandalizing Jesus?: Kazantzakis’s The Last Temptation of Christ Fifty Years on (Continuum, 2005) and The Bible in Motion: A Handbook of the Bible and Its Reception in Film (De Gruyter, 2016).