Just looking at the poster for "The Proposal," a by-the-numbers romantic comedy starring Sandra Bullock and Ryan Reynolds, tells you exactly how it's all gonna go down. Tightly wound dominatrix of a boss (Bullock), dressed in cinch-waisted suits and Louboutin peep-toes that could put an eye out at 50 paces, dragoons her long-suffering male secretary (Reynolds) into marrying her so her U.S. visa won't expire (she's Canadian). Testy arguments, antic high jinks and true love ensue. Cue the adorable closing-credits sequence, and we're out!
It's as predictable and comforting as a Happy Meal, but it must be said that "The Proposal" manages to elicit some genuinely amusing moments, especially when it comes to physical comedy. Director Anne Fletcher ("27 Dresses") started out as a choreographer, and that's still where she shines, in early sequences where an entire office staff collectively shudders in horror when Bullock's character makes her scary way past their desks, and later in a preposterously staged two-way naked body-slam. Reynolds and Bullock don't generate much chemistry, but both can be thanked for bringing restraint to otherwise thankless roles.
A gag involving a randy waiter/stripper played by Oscar Nuez of "The Office" goes on way too long, and tireless trouper Betty White is underused as Reynolds's kittenish grandmother. But at least "The Proposal" lives up to its poster: It's cute, generic and instantly forgettable.