Rating: 3 out of 5
As brightly enjoyable as this film is, there's no escaping the fact that it's yet another formulaic rom-com. Bullock and Reynolds have enough chemistry to keep us smiling, even though we never buy it for a second.
Margaret (Bullock) is a ruthless editor in New York whose efficient assistant Andrew (Reynolds) can't stand her. But when Margaret finds out she's being deported back to her native Canada, she talks Andrew into marrying her. To convince the probing immigration agent (O'Hare), she accompanies Andrew home to see his parents (Steenburgen and Nelson) in Alaska. And over the course of the weekend, their plan begins unravel even as they begin to see each other as humans for a change.
The screenplay tries to mix things up with Andrew's school sweetheart (Akerman), who lurks quietly around the edge of the film waiting for her moment. And there's also the father-son tension between Andrew and his dad, nicely played by both Reynolds and Nelson as something a bit harsher than we usually see in these kinds of movies. Meanwhile, White does her usual enjoyable shtick as Andrew's sassy granny, and Steenburgen holds things together with a solid supporting turn.
But what holds our interest is the banter between Bullock and Reynolds, who have a terrific off-handed prickliness that plays extremely well on-screen and even works in the more emotional screens. They actually make us believe that these two control freaks are actually falling for each other, although calling it love seems a bit of a stretch. At least watching them is great fun, especially when Bullock indulges in some nicely staged slapstick.
Otherwise, we have lots of gorgeous Alaskan scenery and a couple of terrific set pieces, including a zany naked encounter and a surreal incident with the fluffy family dog. But the filmmakers seem to rely so much on their stars that they pretty much ignore the sideplots, never making anything of the love triangle or O'Hare's smarmy agent. Instead, they give extra screen time to the oh-so-goofy Ramone (Nunez), who's only funny because he keeps showing up. But he does add a deranged touch, and never manages to steal a scene from our heroes.
Facts and Figures
Run time: 108 mins
In Theaters: Friday 19th June 2009
Box Office USA: $163.9M
Box Office Worldwide: $317.4M
Distributed by: Walt Disney Pictures
Production compaines: Kurtzman/Orci, Touchstone Pictures, Mandeville Films
Contactmusic.com: 3 / 5
Rotten Tomatoes: 44%
Fresh: 80 Rotten: 102
IMDB: 6.7 / 10
Cast & Crew
Director: Anne Fletcher
Producer: David Hoberman, Todd Lieberman
Screenwriter: Peter Chiarell
Starring: Sandra Bullock as Margaret Tate, Ryan Reynolds as Andrew Paxton, Mary Steenburgen as Grace Paxton, Craig T. Nelson as Joe Paxton, Betty White as Grandma Annie, Denis O'Hare as Mr. Gilbertson, Malin Akerman as Gertrude, Oscar Nunez as Ramone, Aasif Mandvi as Bob Spaulding, Michael Nouri as Chairman Bergen, Michael Mosley as Chuck, Dale Place as Jim McKittrick