OnDVD: Bullock has a ‘Proposal’ for us

Tuesday, October 13, 2009 at 12:23am
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Reynolds, Bullock

One week before her film The Proposal was released, Sandra Bullock gave a series of interviews expressing her disdain for most romantic comedies. Bullock attacked everything from the quality of the scripts to the directing, amount of promotion that studios gave them and the haste with which many were shot and rushed into theaters.

Now some interpreted her comments, and her statements about not doing many more romantic comedies, as panic and concern over whether The Proposal would tank at the box office. Others simply thought she was expressing frustration over being typecast and finding it tougher as she got older to find good roles.

Whatever the case, the movie proved one of the year's biggest hits, and easily the most successful romantic comedy to date from a commercial perspective. Tuesday the two-disc version of The Proposal (Touchstone) will be released, and this edition also includes a digital copy that be used to legally download the DVD onto another source.

The film's main appeal comes from the sizable on-screen chemistry between Bullock and second star Ryan Reynolds. The story follows a bossy, rather obnoxious book editor Margaret Tate (Bullock) who also happens to be Canadian. Suddenly she finds her employment and status in this country threatened because her visa has expired.

Her only option (at least in the film) is to marry an American. She decides to make her hapless assistant Andrew (Reynolds) her faux husband. He in turn threatens to expose the charade unless he gets a promotion.

From that rather unpromising start, the couple actually begin developing real feelings for each other. Things escalate after the two make a trip to Alaska for his crusty grandmother's (Betty White in a terrific role) 90th birthday.

Tate meets his other family members, including both a wily father (Craig T. Nelson) and wise, long-suffering mother (Mary Steenburgen), while also learning a lot about herself, Andrew and life in general. Although The Proposal isn’t exactly a landmark of innovative comedy, the Bullock/Reynolds pairing works well within the storyline, and the contributions of White, Nelson and Steenburgen help elevate what would otherwise be a very routine story.

Bullock may not be thrilled with a lot of romantic comedies, but she definitely did well by choosing to appear in The Proposal.

Other releases

By contrast, Land of the Lost (Universal), which will be released on DVD Tuesday, is neither romantic nor especially funny.

Supposedly a showcase for Will Ferrell, instead it proved one of 2009's biggest comedy bombs. It's a remake of the 1970s live-action kids show about a family who were sucked into a time warp while on a camping/boating vacation and found themselves stranded on a remote island with dinosaurs and prehistoric cave dwellers.

This type of absurd premise could be sustained in a Saturday morning program that was nothing but an animated cartoon with live actors. As a film it proved a disaster.

First, the studio changed it from a lightweight kid work into a quasi-adult film, making Ferrell's character a disgraced scientist seeking redemption through a new discovery and substituting for the family characters a female bombshell assistant (Anna Friel) and a leering, snarky motel owner (Danny McBride).

Other than seeing the CGI special effects and set backdrops, there's little to recommend about Land of the Lost unless you're a huge Ferrell fan. He has some clever puns and a few funny moments, but it's far from enough to salvage the movie. Even though the original show was more camp than anything else, it still proves superior to this limp and disposable remake.

TV on DVD

By the time it reached its seventh season, the long-running show Girlfriends had lost a key character and was definitely at the end of the creative line. The program about four black women and their personal and professional ties had emerged as the best and most popular African-American themed show on first UPN and later the WB.

Unfortunately, it never recovered from the departure of Jill Marie Jones, and the last year was among its least successful.

Still, fans who followed the exploits of Tracee Ellis Ross, Golden Brooks and Persia White over the show's tenure will enjoy Girlfriends: Season Seven (Paramount), a three-disc set that includes some key episodes that show what happens with Joan's (Ross) restaurant, Maya's (Brooks) writing career and marriage, and Lynn's (White's) music. Sadly, the CW canned the program without allowing creator/writer Mara Brock Akil to fashion a series finale.

There's been talk of a revival or possibly a finale, but thus far neither has materialized. This Girlfriends: Season Seven represents for now the last opportunity for those who enjoyed watching this cast (which also included Reginald C. Hayes and Khalil Kain) to see them in action.