THE PROPOSAL:

Two long-standing romantic comedy plots are the couple who loathe, then love each other plus the female boss who falls for her male subordinate. Add elements of GREEN CARD (1990) with MEET THE PARENTS (2000) and you get this above-average flick about a gonad-busting, Canadian book editor (Sandra Bullock) in New York who blackmails her personal assistant (Ryan Reynolds) into a bogus marriage to avoid deportation. Since we all know what the outcome is going to be, the only matter to be resolved is whether the “getting there” is worth our attention. Surprisingly, for a movie that has “chick show” appeal, it does and credit has to be given to both Bullock (CRASH) and Reynolds (ADVENTURELAND), who rises in my estimation the more I see him. Peter Chiarelli’s screenplay demands two strong characters who play well off each other in the style of ‘30s and ‘40s screwball comedies and both deliver with near-perfect timing. As you might expect from the Alaskan setting dominating the movie’s middle portion, there are some interesting supporting figures including Reynolds sympathetic ex-girlfriend (Malin Akerman) and off-kilter grandmother (Betty White, who ought to be declared a national treasure). Not all of the gags work, but the vast majority of them do, and that’s what it takes for a movie comedy to be worth recommending. I’ll note, too, that I think this film will appeal to both sexes because of the likeability of the two leading performers. It’s also well-directed, well-written, darn funny and could be another in a series of female-friendly films that continue to flex their muscles at the box office. Call them the anti-TRANSFORMERS if you will.

MOVIES TO WATCH FOR IN JULY: ICE AGE: DAWN OF THE DINOSAURS (July 1), PUBLIC ENEMIES (July 1), BRUNO (July 10), HAPPY POTTER AND THE HALF-BLOOD PRINCE (July 15), (500) DAYS OF SUMMER (July 17), G-FORCE (July 24), ORPHAN (July 24), THE UGLY TRUTH (July 24), FUNNY PEOPLE (July 31)