Tuesday, February 27, 2024

Always a Bridesmaid

27 Dresses
Director: Anne Fletcher
Cast: Katherine Heigl, James Marsden, Malin Akerman, Edward Burns, Judy Greer 
Released: January 18, 2008
Viewed in theaters: January 24, 2008

This movie sort of reminded me of a weird agglomeration of My Best Friend's Wedding and Runaway Bride. The former because our main character, Jane (Katherine Heigl), has to watch her sister get prepared to marry the man that she (that would be Jane) has been in love with for years and she even tries to sabotage the engagement at one point and the latter because there's a newspaper story angle to this story.

Jane absolutely loves everything about weddings. She loves being there for her friends and helping them prepare for their big day. Uh, why isn't she a wedding planner? This is literally what she was put on this earth to do, but instead she works at some company called Urban Everest that sells outdoor stuff? I'm not sure. She's the assistant for the company's boss, George (Edward Burns), who she's in love with, but he only sees her as a devoted employee and a good friend.  

The beginning of the movie starts with Jane being a bridesmaid at TWO wedding in the same night, so she's taking a taxi back and forth from Manhattan to Brooklyn all night. Good Lord, when Robin Williams had to pretend to be Mrs. Doubtfire to celebrate a birthday (?...I don't remember) with his family and also be his character for a job interview with that one guy, at least he chose the same restaurant! Well, I don't think he chose it, but he just got lucky that both events were at the same restaurant. Anyway, this girl is crisscrossing across the city several times while changing her dress, shoes, and accessories each time. She hires a taxi for the night and offers the driver $300 for the night, but that seems very low, even for 2008 money. She knocks him down to $140 because he kept looking in his rearview mirror when she was in the backseat changing. While I'm sure he snuck looks when he wasn't supposed to, he is a taxi driver and does need to look in the rearview mirror to do his job. He would have made a lot more money by not being her chauffeur that night! 

At one of the weddings she's at, she catches the eye of a guest named Kevin (James Marsden) who notices that she's looking at her watch while she's standing besides the bride. Later, he will see her get in the cab and start changing.  

When she's back at the same wedding as Kevin, she gets knocked over when she's trying to catch the bouquet and another girl bumps into her and Jane hits her head on the floor. Kevin helps her and this is their "meet cute." He helps her to her cab and rides with her to her home. There's really no reason for him to ride with her except to advance the plot. Having a guy share a taxi with you to your home after you've just met him after hurting you head seems like a very idea but maybe that's just because I listen to too many true crime podcasts! After they introduce themselves to each other and Kevin mentions that he's a writer, he tells her that he saw her changing in the cab and knows she was at another wedding that night. She says two of her good friends happened to get married on the same day and she loves wedding. (She really must love weddings to have to go through all that! I think you just need to choose one wedding to attend and just buy an extra nice gift for the one you missed.) He asks her, "Which part? The forced merriment, the horrible music, or the bad food?" I'm going to hazard a guess that Kevin does not feel the same about weddings as Jane does! Obviously, Jane is not impressed with his disdain for weddings. 

After Jane is dropped off at her apartment and the taxi drives off with Kevin, he sees something on the floor and it's Jane's day planner. Actually, she'll refer to it as her FiloFax later on, a word I was not familiar with. I guess that's a brand name? I will say they do look pretty nice and I kind of want one now even though I would probably never use it! He's about to tell the driver to turn back, but changes his mind. 

At Jane's place, we get a quick glance of the coat closet that holds all of her bridesmaids dresses. Since there are so many of them and a few of them have pouffy skirts, it's almost impossible for her to shut the double doors. There are several hooks on the inside of the doors that hold purses and hats. Her idea of unwinding after a big day is sitting down and reading The New York Journal's "Commitments" section, which is articles about people getting married written by a Malcolm Doyle. The wedding-obsessed Jane loves reading about couples' upcoming nuptials and how they met. 

Well, guess what? The next day we see that Kevin works at The New York Journal. (Do you think it's a mix between The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal? Because if you do, you would be totally wrong.) He's Malcolm Doyle. He's the one that writes the romantic and heartfelt stories that Jane loves so much. I do appreciate that the movie doesn't make this some stupid "twist" for the audience to find out later; they tell you who he is in the scene after we see Jane reading that section of the paper. Now, she won't find out for awhile, but for now, the audience knows who he is. Kevin tells his boss he's got a great idea for a story and is hoping it will get him out of writing for the Commitments section because he hates it and wants to be writing "real" stories. His boss agrees and tells him he has one chance to write a story that will impress her. 

At Jane's job, she sees there are a basket of flowers on her desk with no note. She thinks they might be from George. Everyone she works with knows she has it bad for him. Everyone but George that is. 

One of Jane's co-workers/friends, Casey, is played by Judy Greer, and I admit, when I first saw her, I immediately recognized her but I couldn't think of her name! I did eventually remember it a few minutes later, but it made me think of this commercial she was in about a year ago, you know the one where she goes, "What is my name?" I'm sorry that I almost forgot your name, Judy Greer!

Jane's beautiful younger sister, Tess (Malin Ackerman), comes to visit. She's been living in Italy for the past six months where she designs handbags...I think? I'm not sure. All I know she's involved in the fashion industry because she mentions that "the fall fashion shows are done." She's staying with Jane and calls her apartment "tiny and cute" and there's no way that apartment would be considered "tiny" for NYC! 

One of Jane's co-workers (played by Krysten Ritter) is having an engagement party and Jane invites her sister (oh, she's going to regret that), but Tess tells her she's meeting friends, but she might show up later. 

At the party, George asks Jane if she got "that thing" he left on her desk that morning and she gets excited, thinking he's talking about the flowers, but later, she'll realize he was referring to a dry cleaning slip he left on her desk. Ouch. To make matters worse, her beautiful sister with her beautiful blonde hair (damn that Malin Ackerman and her Swedish-born beauty!) comes sauntering in the room in a beautiful dress and catches the eye of George. These guys hit it off fast and I mean fast. Jane sees it happening right in front of her and she is devastated, but she doesn't let it show. It gets even worse when Kevin shows up (since he had her FiloFax, he knew about the engagement party) and asks Jane if she got the flowers. Yeah, I knew they were from him. He returns her FiloFax to her. 

Tess and George go out for drinks and Jane starts cleaning her kitchen at three in the morning because her sister still isn't back yet. When Tess comes back, she barely even notices that her sister is cleaning at an ungodly hour and instead asks her if she thinks it's weird that she went out with her boss and Jane says no even though the way she's acting, she's obviously not okay with it. But her sister is oblivious (her head is in the clouds) and tells her she and George are having lunch tomorrow.

Tess wants to know all about George, so Jane tells her that he dropped out of college and "climbed every peak in the world" which makes sense since he "would rather spend all his time outside than anywhere else." He started his business, Urban Everest, from his apartment and turned it into "one of the most eco-friendly, philanthropic businesses in the world." I still have no idea what exactly the business sells or does, but I'm going to say it sells outdoor camping equipment. He also has a dog that he loves more than anything and doesn't eat red meat. Tess is all dreamy, commenting about how he sounds amazing, but Jane is quick to point out that he also has flaws and cites him hating cashews as one. The hell? How is that a flaw? Another "flaw" is that he doesn't wear socks with sneakers, which is a bit odd, but again, who cares. Tess even points out that those aren't flaws.

They have breakfast with their dad the next morning (I should mention their mother died when they were both younger) and he asks Tess how long she's in town. Jane confirms with her that it's only two weeks, but Tess says "It depends on how a few things pan out." This has Jane a little freaked out and at work, she's in a very bad mood because Tess is also there, flirting with George (who called her that morning) and when Jane flips through her FiloFax, she is annoyed that Kevin has written his name and number in several pages of it. 

George has a "little brother" who he's a Big Brother for named Pedro, who's probably eleven or twelve. When he introduces him to Tess, she says "Hola, Pedro" in a really loud voce even though he literally just spoke English seconds before. George tells Jane that he and Tess are taking Pedro to his baseball game and invites her to join them. She refuses at first, but he insists that she join them, joking that her boss is a jerk.  

At the concession stand, George orders some Cokes and fries and asks them if they want anything else. Jane says she wants a chili dog and asks Tess if she wants one too. Tess says no, replying that she's recently become a vegetarian (probably when she found out George was one!) Of course, this prompts George to tell her that he's a vegetarian too. Tess tells him that every time she goes hiking, she brings her own "homemade tofurky jerky". While all this is going on, Jane is making a WTF face. Probably because she knows her sister isn't a vegetarian and doesn't like the outdoors. George tells her that she doesn't seem like "the kind of girl that hits the trails" and I get it because she wears heels and always has her hair and make up done and is usually wearing outfits that aren't exactly for the great outdoors. She tells him that she loves "all the outdoorsy type of stuff" and I laughed when when she said "like hiking an biking and climbing...up things." 

We next get a montage of George and Tess getting closer and Jane having to witness all of it. One evening, before leaving work, Jane notices that George forgot his wallet (it's on his desk under a bunch of papers) and she looks at his schedule and sees he's at a restaurant. She takes a taxi there and when she walks in, there's roses on a table and two waiters lift up a sign that says "Will you marry me?" George comes out and tells them to put the sign down because "she's not the one." Ouch! Then Tess walks in at that moment and the sign goes back up and George's dog comes out with the ring box around its neck and George starts to propose. Jane is trying to get the hell out of there (I don't blame her!), but a band comes out and starts playing and they're blocking her path. It's all so awkward. Even if Jane didn't have feelings for George, it would still be incredibly awkward as she's sort of unwillingly become part of this proposal. You would think George would thank her for bringing his wallet, then wait for her to leave before he started his proposal to Tess. The restaurant appears to be empty, so he must have rented it out for the evening. 

Things start happening pretty fast. Tess tells Jane that Malcolm Doyle (and we all know who he really is!) wants to do a Commitments column on her and George. We also find out they're getting married in three weeks! This seems insane because that's probably the amount of time they've known each other, if that! This is because Tess wants to get married at the Boathouse in Central Park because that's where her and Jane's parents got married. She had called several times and there was no availability for eighteen months, but on the ninth time she called, she got lucky because there was a cancellation hence the reason the wedding is in three weeks. 

While Jane is with the newly engaged couple to order a cake at a bakery, Kevin comes in and Jane asks what he's doing there. He introduces himself to the couple as Malcolm Doyle and Jane is surprised (but not the audience!) She is super mortified when Tess introduces her (Jane) to Malcolm and tells him she's "obsessed" with his stories and that she's his "number one fan." When asked why he said his name was Kevin, he tells her that is his name and he uses Malcolm for the byline so he doesn't "get stalked by the crazy brides." Jane is not happy because he's been lying to her this whole time. She takes him aside to tell him this; he replies that he told her he was a writer but didn't tell her what he wrote. Jane doesn't understand because he writes "the most beautiful things." She asks him, "Do you actually believer in love and marriage and just pretend to be a cynic, or are you actually a cynic who knows how to spin romantic crap for girls like me." He tells it's the latter which probably just enrages her even more! 

Later, Kevin comes over to Jane's place and tells her he has to interview the friends and family of the engaged couple. (You would think he call to make this appointment or ask her to set up a time for an interview when he saw her at the bakery). Jane isn't too thrilled to talk to him, but agrees to do it for her sister. When he asks how she feels about Tess's "whirlwind romance", she tells him she couldn't be happier. 

It doesn't take long before he sees the closet full of her bridesmaid dresses. (Well, it's not that hard since the doors won't stay shut!) He is flabbergasted that she kept them all and when asked why (something I'm sure every viewer was wondering), she replies, "I have a lot of friends and I like to keep them." WTF? This makes no sense. I'm sure she has pictures of her in these dresses next to the bride; isn't that enough for her? Why is she keeping all these dresses (many she'll never wear again) in a pretty good-sized closet where she would keep other, more practical things like coats and shoes and boots and umbrellas and cold-weather gear. Hell, she could even keep a vacuum in there if she wanted! Why not give them to a consignment shop? That's what my mom did after I wore the dress the one time I was a bridesmaid. Holding on to all of these dresses is just weird and unhealthy and does Jane have a therapist? Because maybe she needs one. Now, if she had been a bridesmaid only once, maybe twice, even three times, I wouldn't really blink about her keeping her dresses, but twenty-seven? TWENTY F***ING SEVEN dresses? The hell? (Well, technically I guess it's 26 because the 27th will come in play later).

Kevin sarcastically tells her it makes sense she would want to keep all of them because they're so beautiful. She replies that they're not that bad and he wants to see one that's "not that bad". She picks out an olive green dress which he thinks the color is "vomit". She says the bride told her it would look good on anyone and into his recorder (in front of her, no less!), he states that she's "slightly delusional and will believe anything anybody tells her." She tells him she's going to show him he's wrong and goes to her bridegroom to change into the dress.

While she's gone he snaps a few photos of all the dresses in the closet and takes one of her when she comes back. He admit the dress itself isn't that bad, but thinks the color is still awful. 

Guess what happens next? Of course it's a montage of Jane in all the dresses! At first, I was going to do something insane and count all the dresses to see if there were indeed twenty-seven (or twenty-six) and I was even going to take notes on some of the dresses, but then I realized, I bet someone already did that for me. And I was right. Some dresses are worse than others and some are just god awful. They must have had Katherine Heigl try on all the dresses and take pictures of her in them because you see Kevin going through his camera and see all the pictures of her in the different dresses. We also see some flashbacks of her at the weddings, mostly theme weddings like where she's riding a horse in a cowgirl getup or underwater in scuba gear. Who the hell gets married underwater? I mean, besides a mermaid? 

Jane has a lot of fun trying on all the dresses. She tells Kevin she doesn't mind wearing the dresses because she knows it means a lot to the bride and she wants to make her friends happy and she knows when it's her big day, they'll be there for her too. Hmm, could this be foreshadowing? (Yes, it totally is.)

Kevin's boss asks him how his article is going and he tells her he's still working on it. She reads what he has so far and likes it and wants to run it next Sunday on the front page of the section. He wants to hold it a week because he's not quite done with it and tells his boss that Jane is more than "a perpetual bridesmaid" and that "there's a lot more to her than that." He asks for another week and his boss agrees. 

A few things are revealed in the next couple of scenes. We find out that Kevin is cynical about marriage because he was once married and his wife left him for his college roommate. Actually, Jane randomly guesses that for the reason why he hates marriage and turns out she was right! We really don't get too much about this backstory. 

Also, Kevin finds out that Jane is in love with her sister's fiancé. Jane is meeting George to go over the menu and Kevin needs to talk to Jane about something and he finds out where she is, so he sees her chatting and laughing with George. I don't know if I would surmise that she's in love with him just because they're enjoying each other's company, but whatever, I guess they need it for the sake of the plot. Before Kevin had arrived and interrupted them, George was telling Jane how much he admires Tess because "she's not afraid to be herself" which we all know is a lie! You can tell Jane wants to tell him that everything Tess has told him is pretty much a lie (she's not a vegetarian, she's not a dog person, and she's not a girl who loves the outdoors!), but she just tells him that she's happy that he and Tess found each other. 

After Kevin shows up, he offers to go with Jane to pick up linens or something. George was supposed to go, but he's gotta meet his parents and yada, yada, yada, they movie just needs an excuse for Jane and Kevin to be in the same car together and that's how they got there. While they're driving, a heavy rainstorm has started. Kevin is goading her about George and tells her he knew she had a thing for her sister's fiancé "the second I saw you mooning over him over polenta." Jane denies this, but he keeps egging her on and she gets angry and soon the car runs off the road and spins around and falls into a muddy ditch by a tree. They're unharmed but there's no way they'll be able to get the car out of the ditch. Then end up at a karaoke bar where they have a drink (and maybe a few more) and start dancing on the bar while singing "Benny and the Jets." After they get down from the bar, Kevin admits to her that he "cried like a baby during the Keller wedding" and this makes Jane passionately kiss him. Earlier at the bar, while having their first drink, she was quizzing him on the articles he wrote about the couples he interviewed and he tells her he didn't remember that particular one. They end up making out, then return to the car where they have sex. Okay, ten bucks says he didn't cry at all during that wedding, but just told her because he knew it would score points with her. Yes, maybe I really just am that cynical! 

The next morning they grab breakfast at a diner while they wait for a tow truck to get the car. Some guy comes up to them and remembers them as "Benny and the Jets" from the night before. The waitress pours their coffee and tells Jane, "You're that girl." Jane thinks the's referring to the karaoke bar, but she's actually referring to seeing her in the paper as Kevin's article has come out one week earlier then he expected. Guess his boss didn't listen to him after all! It's a full page article with many pictures (if not all!) of Jane and her many bridesmaid dresses. The caption reads "Always, Always, Always a Bridesmaid." Kevin tries to explain he told his editor not to run it and that nobody reads that section anyway. Jane is pissed and walks away, but not before slapping him. When she comes home, Tess is there and she's also read the article. She's furious because Kevin wrote, "If Jane is the prototypical accommodating bridesmaid, than her sister, Tess, is cast as the overbearing, overindulged bride-to-be, who at any moment one worries might start stomping around Manhattan, berating fire and swatting planes from the sky." Hmm, have we seen any evidence of this? Tess may be a bit high-maintenance, but I wouldn't compare her to a Bridezilla. 

Kevin tries to call Jane many times to apologize, but she won't answer his calls. Not only is Jane angry at him, but she's also angry at her sister when she finds out that, in a very Pretty in Pink move, she has cut up their mother's dress (which her father said she could wear) and used parts of it in her new, more modern dress. Jane is furious that she did that and goes off on her, telling her that she's going to have to tell George the truth about her. 

It just so happens that the couple's engagement party is that night and Jane had the responsibility of creating the slideshow. Tess had given her a script to read during it and wants to make sure that Jane reads it word for word and Jane promises her she will. Tess must think very highly of herself as this is the opening line she wrote for her sister to read: "Tess and George are a perfect couple. No, a divine couple. A couple whose love is the stuff of myths. Their compatibility is so exact that is can only be described as having been designed by the gods." 

Jane is true to her word and reads what Tess wrote to her, but she has picked photos of her sister that aren't the most flattering. Not that she doesn't look good in them, but while the photos of George show him volunteering at a soup kitchen or visiting the UN, the pictures of Tess are of her flirting with boys or wearing a bikini for a car wash or stuffing her face with barbecue ribs. 

Jane ends with the words Tess wrote for her to read: "And today Tess and George still share the same values. Their love is based on a deep understanding and acceptance of who the other person really is."

Things get worse when Casey tries to clear this awkward moment by shooing Jane away and inviting Pedro up to say a few words. He mentions how great George is as his Big Brother and how happy he is that George has Tess who he calls "really cool" because she's going to help him "start [his] own cleaning business." In an earlier scene, Jane had gone to George's apartment where her sister was staying. George was gone for the day and when Jane comes over, she hears a vacuum, and then sees Pedro vacuuming. Tess tells Jane that she's paying him to clean the apartment, but wants to keep it a secret. Guess Pedro was so excited about his new business that he couldn't keep his mouth shut! Boy, George was not happy about that! I think he (maybe) could have forgiven Tess for lying about being a vegetarian, but her exploiting Pedro like that definitely wasn't a good look. 

To no one's surprise, the wedding is off and when Tess tells this to Jane, she adds, "I hope you're happy." (For the record, she isn't, but let's be real, I bet she's a little relieved that her younger sister isn't marrying her boss).  Jane goes outside, upset, and Kevin is there to apologize since she won't answer his calls. He apologizes and says he wanted to be there for her because he knew this night was gonna be rough for her and tells her he thinks she "deserves to be taken care of for a change." It's a sincere apology and he also gifts her with a Blackberry. He tells her it's "so [she] doesn't have to carry around the crazy FiloFax from 1987." Considering you can still buy FiloFaxes in 2024, I very much doubt hers is from '87! Also, maybe she preferred to carry it around and it's just easier for her to write things down then type it down. I get he meant well, but he shouldn't have just assumed she would have wanted a new phone.  

The sisters talk and Tess tells Jane that she stayed in New York because she was fired from her job (still not exactly sure what she did) and her Italian boyfriend dumped her. As she tells Jane, when she met George, he was nice to her and treated her well and she "wanted to be someone that he wanted"; she "was trying to be someone who deserved him, someone he could respect." She basically tells Jane she was trying to be her. 

Later that day, Jane gets a call from George who asks her to be his date to some benefit thing (since he no longer has a significant other in his life!) that really doesn't matter. This scene is just so she can apologize to him for what she did during the slide show. It's also so she can quit her job and confess that the only reason she stayed was because she was in love with him. They end up kissing (twice) and realize neither of them feels sparks for the other. Can you imagine kissing someone that you liked and they didn't feel anything for you? Ouch. But luckily, these two kids' feelings are mutual. I did't like this scene. I get why Jane quits, but I don't know why we need to see them kiss. I guess this is just to show the audience that these two aren't meant for each other. Well, duh. It just seems so unnecessary when we know she's going to end up with Kevin, if anyone. 

Speaking of which...they get together and one year passes and the movie ends with their wedding. I've heard some people on podcast reviews of this movie complain that it doesn't make sense that the anti-marriage Kevin would want to get married. Well, he was burned by his first wife, but then he met Jane and his views on love and marriage changed. That's the story I'm going with anyway. 

The 27th dress is Jane's wedding dress. Remember when I said it was foreshadowing when Jane told Kevin that her friends would there for her big day just like she was there for theirs? Well, we see Tess and Casey as her bridesmaids in strapless pale yellow dresses, then the camera pans out and we see a line of women wearing all of her bridesmaid dresses. I assume they're all the brides of which the original bridesmaid dress was worn at their wedding and now Jane is getting back at them for making her wear these horrendous dresses  returning the favor and letting them be in her wedding. After they show Tess and Casey, we see Krysten Ritter and she's wearing the black goth dress with the spiky collar which is the dress Jane wore when she was a bridesmaid for her wedding. 

I am a little confused by a couple of things:

1. I Googled a still shot of this scene and counted the bridesmaid dresses. There are 27, not counting Tess's and Casey's. I thought Jane's wedding dress was supposed to be the 27th so shouldn't there only be 26 women modeling 26 dresses? I looked at two rankings of the 27 dresses and both of them had Jane's wedding dress as #1 so they're counting the wedding dress as one of the titular 27 dresses. I suppose if I took the time, I could look at the photo and see which dress wasn't part of the ranking, but, yeah, I'm not gonna do that. 

2. After Jane quits her job and before she reconciles with and starts dating Kevin, we see her clean out her closet and throw away her dresses! At least, I assume she threw them away because she's stuffed them into several trash bags. I guess she could have given them to a consignment shop, but I would think she would put them in garment bags if she did that. So if she threw them out, how did these women wear her dresses? Did they have to go out and buy a replica of them? Did she go digging through the trash? (I highly doubt that!) Or did the movie just forget that scene or just not care? 

Wednesday, February 14, 2024

Love Stories

Valentine's Day
Director: Garry Marshall
Cast: Ashton Kutcher, Jennifer Garner, Julia Roberts, Jamie Foxx, Anne Hathaway, Hector Elizondo, Shirley McClaine, and a million other people
Released: February 10, 2010

When I start watching a movie, the first thing I usually do is check to see how long it is and this one is a little over two hours. At first, I was surprised (and a little annoyed, ha!) because why would some romcom be over two hours long, but then I remembered that half of Hollywood is in this movie and there are a billion little storylines, so that quickly explained that. 

I feel like Garry Marshall watched Love, Actually (which would have come out 7 years prior) and wanted to do that except have it set in L.A on Valentine's Day. There's even a plot line that's sorta similar to one in Love, Actually, but I'll explain more when I get there. 

It's clear Garry picked up the phone to call many of his favorite people to work with: Julia Roberts from Pretty Woman and Runaway Bride, Anne Hathaway from The Princess Diaries, Hector Elizondo from pretty much everything he's directed, and Patrick Dempsey and Eric Dane from the one episode of Grey's Anatomy he directed. Just kidding. He never directed an episode of Grey's Anatomy, but I did have to double check to see if he did or not since two actors from that show are in this movie!  

As you can imagine, some of the storylines collide with each other. There are at least two, maybe three (hell, perhaps even four) storylines that could have easily been cut and it wouldn't have affected the movie at all, but I'll tell you about those later. 

It's Valentine's Day morning and Reed (Ashton Kutcher) has just proposed to his girlfriend, Morley (Jessica Alba) and she says yes. (By the way, I had to look up pretty much everyone's characters name because I only remembered a couple of their names in the movie!) Reed sells flowers and obviously this is a big day for his business and he's got his friend and co-worker, Alphonso (George Lopez) to help him on this big day. 

Reed is friends with Julia (Jennifer Garner) and she has recently started dating a cardiothoracic surgeon named Dr. Derek Sheperd, oops, I mean Dr. Harrison Copeland (Patrick Dempsey - actually, Dr. Shepard was a neurosurgeon, wasn't he?) Haha, I wonder if they call him Dr. McDreamy at his hospital? Julia is so in love with him and basically has hearts for eyes. Unfortunately, he can't spend the day with her because he has to go to San Francisco for something work related. Later, we'll see him call Julia from his car, telling her he's just gotten to the airport, but in actuality, he's pulling into the driveway of a nice house. My first thought was, OMG! He's married! and not five seconds later we see him take a ring out of his pocket and slide it onto his finger. What a jerk! 

Julia goes to see Reed and she's a little surprised that Morley said yes to his proposal, but is happy for him. When she tells him her new flame will be in San Francisco for the day (so she thinks!), he suggests that she go up there and surprise him. Boy, he's going to regret suggesting that when Dr. Copeland will stop by his flower shop in a few hours to buy two arrangement for his two ladies. Before he gives his credit card to Reed, he asks if he can be discreet about this. He agrees, but then when he recognizes his name on the card, he clarifies that Julia Fitzpatrick is his girlfriend and Pamela Copeland is his wife since she has the same last name as him. 

He's having a huge dilemma of whether he should tell Julia or not that her boyfriend is married. He asks Alphonso what he would do and Alphonso asks him what HE would do if the roles were reversed. Reed knows he needs to tell Julia and he tries to when he delivers the flowers from Harrison to her, but isn't able to. 

Unfortunately, Reed will get hit with his own dose of bad news when he comes home to find Morley packing a suitcase and tells him she is leaving him and can't marry him. I saw this coming a mile away because in an earlier scene he asks why she's not wearing her ring and she tells him she doesn't want people asking a bunch of questions since it's Valentine's Day and that they should keep their engagement secret for now. At the last minute, and I mean at the very last minute, he runs to the airport where Julia is waiting to board a plane. He tells her that Harrison is married, but she thinks this means he used to be married and is still being stubborn. 

We see that Julia did not get on the plane, but instead went to the hospital where Dr. Copeland works and asks a nurse if he's working tonight and she says no. She then asks if he's married and the woman confirms he is and he and his wife just celebrated their 15th wedding anniversary. An older nurse comes over to Julia and whispers to her what restaurant he'll be at tonight and what time. It just so happen that one of Julia's students' (she's an elementary school teacher) dad is a maitre'd at that restaurant (or maybe he owns the place, hell, I don't know), so she is able to pretend to be a waitress for Harrison and his wife. At first, he's not paying attention as he's looking at the menu and talking to his wife as Julia pours them water, but when she announces she'll be their waitress, he chokes on his water. She tells them one of their specials is called "the lying, stinking pig." The wife is not getting the clue and is amused by this special and asks how it's made and Julia goes into gruesome detail (and some fast thinking for being put on the spot; guess she got the training when she was a spy in the CIA, haha) about what the chef does to its scrotum and heart. The wife says she'll go with the salmon, but Harrison stutters that he's not hungry. Surely, the wife had some suspicion. Oh, well, I suppose if she did, she decided to wait until they got home before she went off on him. This scene reminded me of the one in Adventures in Baby-Sitting when Elisabeth Shue sees Bradley Whitford with some girl in a restaurant when he told her he couldn't go out because his sister was sick and when she goes in to confront him she overhears him say to the girl, "Girls like you only come around once in a lifetime" which is a line he told Elisabeth and she's like, "Or twice in the same night." 

Julia thanks her student's dad and picks up some carry out she's taking to a party and tells him to charge it to her "friend over there." He says he figured and tells her he also added some extra lobster tails and cheesecake, heh.

So now Reed's (one day) fiancee has left him and Julia's boyfriend is married. Guess who gets together? They find out they were meant for each other all along! How sweet! Okay, so that wraps up their storylines (for the most part), who's next? 

Like I said, Julia is an elementary school teacher (fourth or fifth grade) and one of her students is a boy named Edison. His grandparents are Edgar (Hector Elizondo) and Estelle (Shirley McClain). This is the storyline that (sort of) reminded me of Love, Actually when Liam Neeson's son tells him he's in love with a girl in his class. Edison tells his grandfather he wants to send flowers to his Valentine and we see him trying to order a bouquet of roses at Reed's shop even though he doesn't have enough money. I think we're supposed to think he has a crush on this girl in his class, Rani, an Indian girl who's also a good friend of his and they both play soccer together. Another one of their teammates calls her his girlfriend to Edison's face, but he denies it. But when Julia (Ms. Fitzpatrick to her students) is telling her students the history of Valentine's Day, he's the only one paying attention so I knew that he had a crush on his teacher. For some reason, his flowers aren't delivered to the school (probably because he didn't have enough money!), so he has to make it his mission to make sure his Valentine gets her flowers THAT day. He finds out from Rani that she has to work at her family's restaurant that night (and keep in mind this girl is ten) because they're hosting two parties: a wedding reception and an "I Hate Valentine's Day" party that Ms. Fitzpatrick will be attending because her friend Kara is hosting. Okay, let's put a pin in this story (there's not too much left to tell, but I need to introduce some other characters before I wrap it up. This movie's kind of a pain to try to summarize!) 

In a movie about love and Valentine's Day, we at least need one anti-Valentine's Day person and that is Kara (Jessica Biel) who hosts an annual "I Hate Valentine's Day" party. She is upset because nobody has RSVPed to her party, but don't worry, she ends up having a nice gathering. Julia is the first to arrive. At first she wasn't going to attend because she had planned to be in San Francisco surprising her boyfriend, but we all know how that turned out! There's a heart-shaped piñata and Julia takes a bat and just beats the crap out of it. Before she smashes the piñata, she twirls the bat around in her hand and it's very Sydney Bristow.

Kara is a publicist for an "aging" (he's 35) football player named Sean Jackson (Eric Dane) who's thinking about retiring because he wants more out of life. He wants to call a press conference and everyone thinks he's going to announce his retirement. His agent is played by Queen Latifah and she has one amusing moment where she's getting a massage and when it turns out that Sean's big announcement is that he's gay (but he's still going to continue to play), she looks up and says, "I knew it!" 

But let's back up (again) and introduce another character. Kelvin (Jamie Foxx) is a sports journalist, but his producer, Susan (Kathy Bates), wants him to do a lifestyle piece (because it's a slow sports day, but this was before Sean Jackson announced he was holding a press conference) and ask people on the street "what does Valentine's Day mean to you?" Kelvin isn't thrilled about this because he wants to be taken seriously as a sports journalist and he's not a fan of Valentine's Day. (Guess who he ends up with?) I did laugh at his reply about Valentine's Day not even being a real holiday because they don't get the day off. I totally agree with him. If you don't get time and a half for woking on a holiday it's not a real holiday! When he hears that Sean Jackson (I have no idea why I keep calling him by his first and last name, maybe because that's how they referred to him in the movie) is announcing a press conference, he goes to Kara's office to ask is he can ask Sean one camera on question. Kara is in her office, stuffing chocolate in her mouth, a little unhinged, and asks him if she's the only person who's alone on Valentine's Day and tells him how her best friend is candy and the only relationship she has is with her Blackberry. (Haha, this movie is so dated). Now I don't know if this is the first time these two have met, but it's super cringe and she breaks down and he's trying to comfort her. Anyway, he is able to get his question for Sean Jackson and he ends up coming to Kara's party (because he hates Valentine's Day too!). They share a kiss at the end of the movie and I guess they end up together. 

We get a storyline set on an airplane where U.S. army captain Kate (Julia Roberts) is sitting next to a well-dressed man named Holden (Bradley Cooper). They strike up a conversation and we learn that Kate is on a one-day leave. Holden tells her he thinks it's a romantic gesture what she's doing since she's taking a fourteen hour flight just to be home for one day, then turn around the next day and take another fourteen hour flight back and mentions the guys she's going to see is a lucky man. Okay, right away I knew she wasn't going home to see a husband or a boyfriend or any kind of romantic partner. I knew that Edison was her son and he was who she was going home to see. I knew this because when Edison is playing soccer we see him looking at the moms cheering on their kids and he looks really sad. I thought it was weird that she never corrected him and told him she had a son and was going home to see him. I guess it's because they wanted it to be a surprise for the audience. Well, you're not fooling me, Garry Marshall! It is a sweet moment when she comes home and hugs her son and I may or may not have had something in my eyes during that scene. We also find out that Holden is in a relationship with Sean Jackson. So I guess they were in a relationship, but it wasn't public since Sean wasn't officially out? 

Okay, let's go back to Edison for a second. For some reason, he has a baby-sitter even though he has two able-bodied grandparents who are able to take care of. Grace (Emma Roberts) is a high school senior who watches him after school. I would understand if the grandparents weren't home to watch him, but there's a scene of her at their house and she's talking to them. If the grandparents are home, why do they need a baby-sitter? Okay, this scene will come into play later so I get why it's there. 

Let's talk about Grace's (very cringey) storyline. That morning, her teacher asks her if she can help with a "test-prep group for the class" after school, but Grace tells her she has to baby-sit. When she asks if she can do it during lunch, she tells her she can't because she plans to have sex with her boyfriend for the first time and they're going to her house during lunch break because her parents will be at work. I for sure thought she was trying to get out of helping the teacher and just said that so the teacher would be uncomfortable (which she was!) and leave it alone, but no, Grace was being serious. She even offers to help her the next day with the study group. 

During lunch break, Grace's boyfriend, Alex (Carter Jenkins, the only person in the main cast I wasn't familiar with), gets to her house first (he knows where the key is hidden; under a doormat, with an obvious hiding place like that, they're probably going to get burglarized) and heads up to her room and covers her bed in rose petals and lights a bunch of candles. It's the most cliche thing ever. Also, isn't lunch break usually only half an hour? And they have to drive home, then back to school? This all just seems very rushed and not very special or romantic. Are they just doing this today because it's Valentine's Day? I guess. Alex is an inspiring musician and has brought his guitar and starts playing it and singing a cheesy song about her. He is completely naked (ready to go, I guess!) and the guitar is strategically placed around him. In a very predictable move, we see the front door open and in walks Grace's mom! I guess she had to come home form work to get something. She can hear the music upstairs and thinks Grace is home, so she opens the door to get quite the surprise. Alex also gets quite the surprise too and falls onto Grace's bed. We get a very awkward scene where he tells his girlfriend's mom the reason he is naked because he's rehearsing for "an experimental show". (Okay, but why is he "practicing" in Grace's room?) He stands up and steps on a thorn of a rose, then backs up and crashes into one of Grace's shelves, then he bumps heads with Grace's mom. You would think the mom would tell him to get dressed, close the door, then they could discuss what he was doing. Alex wraps his jacket around his wait and grabs his guitar case and runs out of the house completely naked, but he's covered up. He runs down the block and runs into Grace who is on her way home. She stops and lets him in the car and he tells her what just happened. Boy, she must have been mortified that her mom saw her boyfriend naked in her bedroom! 

So they decide to wait to have sex because reasons I don't even remember. Grace chats with Edgar and Estelle and asks them who's only been with one person and they tell her they are those people. Except lies! Because Estelle confesses to Edgar that she had an affair with his business partner many years ago. Damn, that's cold, Estelle! When he asks why she's telling him this now, she replies she wanted to tell him the truth and he tells her, "The truth makes everything else seem like a lie."

There are a couple storylines that could have been deleted from the movie. One of them is the relationship between Liz (Anne Hathaway) and Jason (Topher Grace - thank goodness I have the Wikipedia cast list up because I would not have remembered their character's names!). They recently started dating and go on a dinner date. They go to this super crowded restaurant where the tables are literally right next to each other and they're sitting shoulder to shoulder with the other patrons and are across from each other and have to talk loudly to be heard. The couple next to them are leaning across the table and making out and the other couple next to them is fighting. It doesn't seem very fun or intimate. One of the moments of dialogue I genuinely laughed at is when the waiter comes over and asks them, "Would you like the four-course Sweetheart's Menu or the eight-course Eternal Love?" and Jason replies, "Whoa slow down. Is there a one-course "only been dating
for two weeks but it looks promising option?" Yeah, that's pretty awkward, but I think his reply was pretty good. 

During their scenes together or when Liz is at work, she has to take calls because she makes extra money on the side as a phone sex operator. It's all very PG-13 dirty talk and she talks in accents, usually Russian or Southern. She seems to have the same two clients. During the dinner date, she has to excuse herself to take one of these calls and goes outside. Jason (he doesn't know what she does on the side) goes to find her and overhears her "talking dirty" (I say it in quotes because it's pretty tame) in a Southern accent to someone who he believes is her boyfriend. This guy is really dumb...any idiot would realize what she's doing. She admits she's a phone sex operator and when he asks why she didn't tell him she says it's because she's broke and has a $100,000 student loan and no insurance. So I guess because of shame? He's such a jerk and tells her "I'm out." But why? Because she's the a phone sex operator? Because she's broke? For some reason, after he tells her that, she asks if he's going to call her, but I guess this is so he can be snarky and reply, "I'd like to say yes, but I don't know if I can afford it." He does immediately apologize for saying that, but says this is all too much for him.

So I would say this is a storyline that could be deleted, but it does merge with the Edgar and Estelle storyline. Both couples are supposed to go to a movie night in the cemetery, but the guys end up going alone and they start chatting about their forlorn love lives. Edgar and Estelle go every year on Valentine's and this is the first time he's been there without Estelle. The movie they're showing is a 1958 movie Shirely McClaine was in called Hot Spell, so I guess Estelle is/was an actress, but I don't know if this is supposed to be Hot Spell or another movie because Shirley McClaine isn't playing herself. Anyway, Estelle comes to the screening and she and Edgar make up and kiss in front of a huge crowd of people and everyone claps. Also, Jason realizes he was being a jerk to Liz and they make up and get together. 

I would also say you could delete the Emma Robert and her boyfriend storyline, but it also connects to Edgar and Estelle. One storyline you could definitely delete and it wouldn't affect the movie is the Taylor Swift and Taylor Launter one. They play a dating high school couple and they're friends with Grace and Alex, but that's really only the connection they have with other characters in the movie. The Taylor Swift song "Today Was a Fairytale" is featured during the movie and at the end credits. I thought she specifically wrote it for the movie, but looking at Wikipedia (which I already had up!) she had already written it and offered it to be used in the movie. Taylor Swift has many, many amazing songs and this....is not one of them. It's very bland and generic, much like this movie! 

The absolute best part of this film is the very, very end when they're showing the bloopers and the last blooper we see is Julia Roberts being driven home in a car and they go past Rodeo Drive and the driver asks her if she's ever been there and she replies she has and it was a "Big mistake, huge!" 

Thursday, February 8, 2024

The Canadian and the American

The Proposal
Director: Anne Fletcher
Cast: Sandra Bullock, Ryan Reynolds, Betty White, Mary Steenburgen, Craig T. Nelson, Malin Akerman
Released: June 19, 2009
Viewed in theaters: June 20, 2009

Ironically, Ryan Reynolds is not the Canadian! 

If you haven't seen this very mid romcom from 15 years ago, I will be spoiling some aspects of it. Even if you've never seen it, you can probably guess what happens at the end because it's a very cliche, very formulaic romcom. Look, we all love Sandra Bullock; we all love Ryan Reynolds; and we all love National Treasure Betty White, but this is a very underwhelming and forgettable movie. But I still want to warn about spoilers just in case. 

I had seen this movie before and the only thing I remembered is that Bullock and Reynolds have to pretend to be engaged, but I couldn't remember why. I told you it was forgettable!

Margaret Tate (Bullock) is the editor-in-chief of a book publishing company in New York called Colden Books (which I read as Golden at first when I saw a sign for it) and Andrew Paxton (Reynolds) is her assistant. Margaret is very businesslike and no-nonsense and all the employees are terrified of her. They were clearly taking a page out of The Devil Wears Prada

Margaret has convinced one of their writers, a recluse named Frank, to promote his book on Oprah. She fires an editor named Bob Spaudling because he was the one who was supposed to do convince Frank to do Oprah, but he never even attempted to ask him. 

She tells Andrew she's going to need his help this weekend and he tells her he was going to go home for the weekend for his grandma's 90th birthday, but tells her he can cancel it. 

Margaret is called to talk to two of the head honchos who run the company. One of them asks her if she remembers when they agreed she wouldn't go to the Frankfurt Book Fair because she wasn't "allowed out of the country while [her] visa application was being processed?" She did end up going because they were going to lose one of their authors to another publishing company and she managed to stop that from happening. Because of this, they spoke to her immigration attorney and her visa application has been denied and she hasn't filled out some paperwork in time and now she's being deported back to her home country of Canada. I did laugh when she says, "Come on! It's not like I'm even an immigrant! I'm from Canada!" They tell her she can reapply, but she'll have to leave the country for at least a year. She says it won't be too bad because she can work from Toronto, but they tell her she won't be able to work for an American company. Until this is resolved, they're going to "turn operations over to Bob Spaudling". (I guess it doesn't matter that she just fired him.) This makes her irate and even they'd rather have her stay and tell her if there was "any way at all they could make this thing work, they'd be doing it." (Boy, everyone must hate Bob!) 

Now, I know nothing about the immigration process and obtaining visas and all that, but are they really that concerned about a woman from Canada who has a good job with a steady income and hasn't had any trouble with the law? It seems like someone like her wouldn't be their first priority. It seems like she's been in New York for a long time (she'd have to be to have the job she has!), but why was her visa application being processed? I get the sense that the Frankfurt Book Fair was recent, so why - oh, you know what? It really doesn't matter. I get that they need this as part of the plot. Like I said before, I couldn't remember why she and Ryan Reynolds were pretending to her engaged, but as soon as this scene came on, it all made sense (in a non-sensical way!) 

At that moment, Andrew pops in, telling her someone's on the phone and they need to speak to her right away, but he told her that she was "otherwise engaged." Hearing that word prompts Margaret to get an idea and you can practically see the wheel turning in her head. She motions for Andrew to come over next to her and she announces to the two men that she and Andrew are engaged. By the look on Andrew's reaction, you can tell he's surprised, but the two men seem to believe her for whatever reason. Maybe they're turning a blind eye because they did say they wanted Margaret to stay onboard. 

I realize she just came up with this idea, but you would think she would talk to him about this BEFORE ambushing him, but I guess it's not as funny and maybe this way he feels like he's forced to go along with it. There is a funny moment when one of the men says to Margaret, "Isn't he your secretary?" (and Andrew is quick to respond "assistant", but that's not the funny part I'm talking about) and she replies, "It wouldn't be the first time one of us fell for our secretaries, Edwin" and the guy who's not Edwin looks at Edwin in surprise. 

When Margaret and Andrew are back in her office, he tells her he's not going to marry her and she tells him that Bob is going to fire him once she's gone and all the time they spent together, "all the lattes, all the canceled dates, all the midnight Tampax runs, were all for nothing. All your dreams of being an editor are gone." She says the'll get a divorce after "the required allotment of time." Ryan has been Margaret's assistant for three years and his dream is to become an editor, so he agrees to help her. Of course, he's not thrilled about it, but a guy's gotta do what a guy's gotta do. 

They meet with an immigration lawyer named Mr. Gilbertson and he starts the meeting by asking them "Are you both committing fraud to avoid her deportation so she can keep her position as editor in chief at Colden Books?" It's pretty funny that he hit the nail right on the head. He does admit he got a phone tip from a man named Bob and Margaret tells him that he "is nothing but a disgruntled former employee." 

He explains how the process will work: there will be a scheduled interview where he will talk to them each separately and ask them questions to see if they match, he will look at phone records, and talk to neighbors and co-workers. If their answers don't line up, Margaret will be deported "indefinitely" and Andrew will "have committed a felony punishable by a fine of $250,000 and five years in prison. To me, this is not worth doing! Margaret only has to go to Canada for a year; it's not like she's being deported to Afghanistan! I get that the stakes are higher because her job is at stake, but it's pretty stupid for Andrew to risk five years in prison. I don't think the $250,000 is a big deal for him, because later we'll find out his family is loaded. However, Andrew sticks with the story and tells him they're "just two people who weren't supposed to fall in love." He sneakily adds that they didn't want to say anything because of his upcoming promotion to become editor. 

Mr. Gilbertson asks if their parents know about their relation and Margaret says hers are dead, but that they're going to tell Andrew's parents when the see them this weekend to celebrate Andrew's Gammy's 90th birthday. Honestly, I'm shocked she even remembered him talking about that because it seemed like she was barely paying attention to what he was saying. When asked where Andrew's parents live, she scoffs and asks "Why am I doing all the talking?" and tells Andrew that he should tell him where it is since it's his parents' house. This right here should have been major red flags to the immigration lawyer. But to be fair, he is pretty skeptical throughout the movie. He just doesn't seem to question it in this moment. When Andrew says his parents live in Sitka, Alaska, Margaret doesn't seem to be too thrilled. Okay, a couple of things:

1. I wouldn't be thrilled if I was going to Alaska either, especially for the weekend. (They go for a long weekend since they are there for four days, but still!) A long-ass flight to Alaska to only be there for four days is not worth it! They will fly first class from New York to Juneau, then take a jumper plane to Sitka. Now I'm not sure if there were any layovers on their way to Juneau, but a nonstop flight is about eight hours. You can fly to London from New York with one less hour. Actually, a flight from New York to London would be two hours less because I forgot to account for the one hour flight they take from Juneau to Sitka. 

2. How the hell did Margaret not know that Andrew is from Alaska? They've known each other for three years and that never came up? Alaska is one of those places where I think you would remember if someone said they were from there. 

When they leave the office, Margaret tells Andrew that him saying he was being promoted was "genius", but obviously he was being serious and told her that he would need some kind of incentive for him to go along as he could be sent to jail for doing this. Hell, I don't blame him! At first, she refuses to give him the promotion and he tells her he quits and starts walking away, but she quickly agrees that she'll make him editor if their little ploy works. He also says that he wants her to publish his manuscript and adds that he'll tell his family about the engagement when he wants and how he wants. 

Their separate interviews are schedule for eleven on Monday, so on the l--o--n--g flight to Juneau they have plenty of time to study up on each other. Andrew already knows a fair amount about Margaret, but she hardly knows anything about him. They are looking at questions that will be asked and I'm surprised that they are able to study for their interview and will have plenty of time to make sure their answers match. 

When they reach Sitka, they are greeted by Andrew's mom, Grace (Mary Steenburgen), and his Gammy, Annie (Betty White). Gammy asks Margaret if she prefers to be called Margaret or "Satan's Mistress". It seems this his family knows that he strongly dislikes his boss, but yet they don't really seem to question why he's all of a sudden dating her. I guess they're just happy that he's visiting because we'll later learn that he only visits about every three years. I just assumed because it was too far away, but it's because he has a strained relationship with his dad, Joe (Craig T. Nelson).

When they're driving from the tiny airport, this is when Margaret and the audience realize that Andrew comes from a wealthy family (he's "an Alaskan Kennedy" as Margaret will call him) because there's many shops and businesses with "Paxton" in the name.

Margaret and Andrew were originally going to stay in a hotel (most likely two separate rooms), but Grace tells them she cancelled their reservations because they want them to stay in their home. This makes sense since he is their son and he is visiting with his girlfriend. Not to mention, they have plenty of room in their house. Their house is on an island and they have to take a boat to reach it. They have to climb down a ladder to the dock where the boat is docked. One moment that genuinely made me laugh out loud is when Andrew throws Margaret's Louis Vuitton suitcase into the boat, but it bounces off the dock and lands in the water. He says "Five second rule" as he quickly fishes it out. (I thought it was three seconds!)

It's so awkward watching Margaret climb down the ladder to the dock because she's wearing heels and it reminded me of Cameron Diaz wearing heels in The Holiday when she's walking down the snowy road with her luggage. 

When they reach the house, Andrew's mom tells him they invited 50 of their closest friends and neighbors to meet Margaret. Um...aren't they having a big party for Gammy in a couple of days? Wouldn't the smart thing be for their friends and neighbors to meet her then? I'll tell you one thing...if I were just on a ten + hour flight, the LAST thing I would want is some big party to attend where the point is for everyone to meet me. Even if I WASN'T pretending to be engaged to someone! That seems like my worst nightmare. 

At the party, Margaret is pretty much introduced to only two people: Andrew's dad and his ex girlfriend, Gertrude (Malin Ackerman). We find out why Andrew and his father have a strained relationship: Joe wanted Andrew to stay in Sitka to help with the family businesses when he retires soon and isn't happy that he ran off to New York to become an editor's assistant. He knows his son hates Margaret and thinks he's only dating her to "climb the corporate ladder". Remember when Andrew told Margaret that he would decide when they would announce his engagement to his family? (Of course you do! It was only a few paragraphs ago!) Well, he chooses this moment to tell his dad about the engagement, then soon finds himself telling the entire party. 

While this is going on, a waiter serving hors d'oeuvres had just put a bite of something (lobster maybe?) into Margaret's mouth (like physically puts it into her mouth even though she told him she didn't want one) and this is the exact moment she hears Andrew announce to everyone they're engaged and she ends up spitting it out. The waiter is named Ramone and there's a running gag where he has many jobs throughout this movie, so this is sighting and job #1. 

Gertrude asks the newly engaged couple how Andrew proposed and both Grace and Gammy also want to hear this story. You would think Andrew and Margaret would realize there would be a good chance they would be asked this questions when they announced their engagement and they would have already come up with a story, duh. But I get it; it's funnier this way, and, besides, they were probably too busy going over the questions they would need to answer for their interview. 

Of course, neither want to tell the story since there is no story to tell! I'm trying to think what I would do if I were in this (highly unlikeable) situation. If the other person tells the story, you don't have to worry about coming up with an elaborate tale, but on the other hand, if you're the one telling it, you are controlling the narrative which is exactly what Margaret does when Andrew suggests that she should tell them because she "loves telling this story." This is dangerous territory to let her tell the story! 

She starts by saying they they were about to celebrate their first anniversary together and she knew that he'd been "itching to ask [her] to marry him." According to her, he was scared (heh), so she started "leaving him little hints here and there because [she] knew he wouldn't have the guts to ask." So at this point, Andrew's not too happy that she's making him sound like a wuss, so he's quick to interrupt and tell them that's not exactly how it happened. He says he picked up on her hints, implying they weren't so subtle. As soon as he tells them he had a little box for her, Margaret interrupts and says it was a decoupage box he made and "had taken the time to cut out tiny, little pictures of himself." She opened it "and out fluttered these tiny, little hand-cut heart confettis." Now I would think this part would be a red flag to his own family because he doesn't strike me as being this intricate and artistic, but his mom and grandma seem to be believing every word of this story, She continues, saying she saw "the most beautiful, big..." and once again, Andrew interrupts and completes the sentence with "fat nothing." He says there was no ring and instead was a "handwritten note with the address to a hotel, date, and time." Margaret says she thought he was seeing someone else and went to the hotel and banged on the door which was unlocked and when she opened it, she saw him "kneeling on a bed of rose petals in a tuxedo" and he was "chocking back soft, soft sobs." Margaret doesn't have a chance to tell them what he said to her when he was finally able to talk because Andrew interrupts and tells them really quickly that he asked her to marry him and she said yes. I think he was ready to end that story! 

The crowd clinks their glasses, wanting the newly engaged couple to kiss and he kisses her hand, bhah! They do eventually kiss on the lips but it's so awkward and obviously not real. I am shocked that nobody is suspicious of them at all. Well, I guess Joe is a little bit, but they don't really dwell on that. 

Andrew and Margaret share a room with an en suite and Andrew sleeps on the floor in front of the bed. Before the end of the first day, we are introduced to one more character: an adorable samoyed puppy named Kevin (what an odd name for a dog!) that Andrew's parents recently rescued from the pound. Gammy tells them not to let him outside because of eagles (and other Alaskan predators, I'm sure!) Well, guess what? It's literally the next scene and guess what happens? I'll give you one guess. The next morning, before she's up, Margaret receives a phone call from Frank, that reclusive author. He must be her biggest client because she seems to be doing everything to make him happy. She can't get any reception so she ends up throwing a coat over her pajamas and putting on some rubber boots and goes outside, leaving the back door wide open for some unknown reason. Well, there is a reason and it's so the dog can get out too. Five seconds later (and I'm not exaggerating) an eagle swoops down and snatches the poor little unsuspecting puppy. Margaret talks with Frank for about ten more seconds before she realizes that a big bird has Kevin and she throws the phone at the bird (she doesn't hit it because that would take amazing talent), but the bird does drop the dog. Luckily, the drop isn't too far a distance so the dog is unharmed when he drops to the ground and he's also amazingly unharmed despite the fact that an eagle with sharp talons just picked him up. Margaret really caught a break there! I don't think Andrew's family would look too kindly at her if she had inadvertently killed the family pet within the first 24 hours of meeting them. Margaret picks up Kevin which is a little surprising because in a later scene Kevin will be blocking her way and she's trying to get around him and while I wouldn't say she's scared of him, for some reason she can't just simply walk around him or scoot him out of the way and here she has picked him up and is holding him. It's just odd, that's all. Because she is holding the dog, the eagle swoops down at her and Margaret covers her head with her arm that is holding the phone and the eagle ends up taking the phone. This poses two questions: 1) why did the eagle drop the dog in the first place? Margaret was nowhere near hitting it with her phone. Don't get me wrong; I'm glad Kevin is okay because he is adorable and this movie would have gone to a super dark place if the eagle made a meal out of that puppy, but I'm guessing this would never happen in the real world! And, 2) why the hell would the eagle take the phone? I don't think it would have any interest in that at all! So now the eagle has her phone (which I'm sure it dropped soon after, but we don't see where it goes if it did drop it) and Margaret is holding up Kevin, trying to entice the eagle with the dog. For some reason, she thinks if she gives the dog to the eagle, the eagle will give her the phone back like they're doing some business transaction. However, lucky for everyone, the eagle doesn't seem interested and flies away. We see a shot of Grace and Gammy looking out the window and laughing. I was kind of shocked that they were laughing because the night before they had told Margaret to make sure Kevin doesn't get out and here she is outside with Kevin. Why the hell are they laughing? Shouldn't they be livid? I'm not sure how long they've been watching but I'm guessing they didn't see the part where the eagle scooped up Kevin. They did see Margaret running around holding Kevin up and I guess they didn't see the eagle because they seem to think Margaret is playing the dog and how cute it is. 

Margaret freaks out about her phone to Andrew and he tells her they'll just order a new phone with the same number and they can go into town tomorrow to pick it up. Duh. 

Grace, Gammy, and Gertrude take Margaret out to a strip club where we get a very awkward and way too long scene of Ramone doing a strip tease for her. (I guess this is her unofficial bachelorette party). This is sighting and job #2 for Ramone. 

When they return back to the house, Margaret goes upstairs to take a shower. It's only when she's done that she realizes she can't find a towel. Uh, wouldn't you make sure you had a towel before you took the shower? Also, Margaret must not have been paying attention that first night because Grace clearly told them there were towels in the cabinet outside the bathroom. The only thing she can find is a washcloth which she covers her bits up with and holds her other arm over her breasts. This is the scene I was talking about earlier when the little dog is blocking her way and barking at her when she opens the door. Now while she was in the shower, Andrew had come upstairs with his head phones on (I guess so he can't hear the shower even though the bathroom door is closed so you would think he would know that someone's in there) and he opens the cabinet to grab a towel, then heads outside on the deck, for some reason, to strip. When Margaret opens the door, she sees the cabinet door ajar and that there are towels. She tries to deter the dog by blowing a hair dryer at him, but, of course, he loves it. (I had a cat who hated going to the groomers, but he absolutely loved the warm air from the blow dryer.) Somehow, she makes it past this fearsome creature and while she's stepping her way around the dog, Andrew steps into the room and they both run into each other and she falls on top of him and it's the most awkward thing ever because they're both butt naked! 

That night, when she's in the bed and he's on the floor, he brings it up again and she tells him let's never talk about this again and they agree. Or maybe it was the other way around where she brought it up and he said they should never talk about it again Margaret knows there's tension between him and his father and asks about it, but he refuses to tell her. She starts telling him little random bits of information about herself to open up to him and I guess this is supposed to bring them closer together. I guess they do seem a little friendlier after this. 

The next morning Grace knocks on the door, announcing she's brought them breakfast in bed. Margaret quickly wakes Andrew by throwing a pillow at him and tells him to get into the bed with her. He does (and also hides the sheets so they're not on the floor anymore) and they accept their breakfast from his mother. 

Joe comes in and tells them Grace thought of a great idea. Why are they telling them this now when they're in bed? Can't they wait until they're up and dressed? Even Gammy will come in a few minutes later. Anyway, Andrew's parents tell them that they want them to get married at their house tomorrow which is also the same day of Gammy's ninetieth birthday party (fun fact: Betty White was 86 when she filmed this). When they say they don't want to ruin Gammy's big day, this is when she barges in and tells them she's had 89 birthday parties and doesn't need another and that "it would be a dream come true for me to see my one grandchild's wedding. A dream come true!" When they're still hesitant about it, she plays the guilt card and asks them if they'll do it "before I'm dead." They sure aren't giving them much notice, but I guess they thought everything through. They already have a venue: it will be in the barn (I didn't even know they had a bar!) because it's "a Paxton family tradition." You can see that Margaret looks extra thrilled about that!  

That afternoon, Margaret and Andrew go into town to pick up her new phone. This is when we get sighting and job #3 of Ramone who works at the store. She has 37 messages and needs to answer them so Andrew takes her to an Internet cafe and while she's in there, he's outside talking to Gertrude who he ran into and Margaret sees this. She looks a little jealous, but nothing comes out of it. Gertrude is not trying to get Andrew back and Andrew only sees her as a friend. There is absolutely no threat. I think the director just likes Malin Akerman because she had worked with her the previous year in 27 Dresses and wanted to give her a role in this movie. 

Grace and Gammy take Margaret to a tailor's to try on the dress that Gammy got married in. As she tells Margaret, her mother made it for her in this very same shop in 1929. Because Gammy is a little bustier and was "knocked up" (her words!) when she wore it way back when, it doesn't quite fit Margaret and is quite loose on her, but once they get it tailored, it does look very nice on her. It's a bit of an old-fashioned dress (well, duh, it is from 1929) and she is entirely covered, but it does have that cool retro vibe to it. 

Gammy gives Margaret a necklace that has been in the family "for more than 150 years". Her great grandfather gave it to her great grandmother when they got married. Margaret is starting to feel guilty because of this and earlier Grace had told her she'd love for them to come down and visit them. She freaks out to Andrew about it and tells him she "forgot what it was like to have a family" because she's been on her own since she was 16. She doesn't understand why he's "willing to put them through this" because his family loves him. He tells her they're not going to find to out (hmm, are you sure about that?) and when she asks "How do you know?" (which is a good point), he replies, "You said so yourself." Uh, that's not really a good argument. 

When they get back to the house, Joe is there to meet them and he looks serious. Right away I knew that he had found out their engagement was a sham. This was confirmed when he tells them he needs to talk to them and that Andrew's mother "is never to hear any of this." They go into the barn (oh, there's the barn!) where Mr. Gilbertson, the immigration lawyer, is waiting for them and tells them, "I told you I'd check up on you." At first, I thought he had flown all the way from New York to Sitka on his own accord and was confused by this and thought it was totally pointless since Andrew and Margaret had an appointment with him for their interviews on Monday, but it was Joe who flew him up there. He had received a phone call from Mr. Gilbertson who told him if Andrew was lying, he would be sent to prison for five years. It is a little surprising that neither Andrew nor Margaret thought that the immigration lawyer wouldn't check in with Andrew's parents about this because he did tell them at their first meeting that he would be doing just that. I guess they did consider he might do it and would just deny it which is what Andrew will do. Mr. Gilbertson tells Andrew that his dad "negotiated a deal on your behalf" and he's going to make a statement "admitting this marriage is a sham or you're gonna go to prison". If he tells the truth, nothing will happen to him, but she'll be sent back to Canada.  Andrew's statement is that he's been working for Margaret for three years and six months ago they started dating, fell in love, and are now getting married. 

We see sighting and job #4 of Ramone who serves as the minister for the wedding. Now, this is the last sighting of him,  but I can't say if this is it for all his jobs. I wouldn't be surprised if he was also the mayor of Sitka! For a wedding only announced the day before, they sure got a big crowd! But then again, it was supposed to be Gammy's birthday, so maybe these people came for that and ended up at a wedding instead. I guess the dress code for Gammy's party wasn't casual because everyone is already dressed for a wedding, what luck! Among the guests is Mr. Gilberston. 

While Ramone is doing the whole wedding spiel, Margaret interrupts him and says she need to say something. Now I thought she was going to confess everything, but then tell Andrew (and everyone else) that she did fall in love with him over the course of these last couple of days and truly does want to get married to him. We-ell, that's not exactly how it happened. She does confess the reason they're getting married, apologizes to Andrew's family, and on her way out of the barn tells Mr. Gilberston (who has a smug look on his face) that he's giving her a ride back to the airport. I guess Margaret's conscience just caught up with her and she couldn't go through with this ruse anymore.

Of course, Grace and Gammy are confused and want Andrew to tell them what's going on, but he's too preoccupied to tell them anything right now. On their way to the airport, Mr. Gilbertson tells Margaret that once they land in New York, she'll have twenty-four hours to go to Canada. Well, at least that flight will be a lot shorter at a little under two hours (assuming she's going to Toronto). 

Even though the wedding has been called off, there's still a wedding reception outside (well, they might as well use all the food and supplies they already paid for!) and Andrew wants to go after Margaret and talk to her, but his dad tells him he can't let him do that and they start fighting. Gammy yells at them to stop fighting, then looks panicked and grabs her chest to look like she was having a heart attack which I knew she was faking. A sea plane is called to take her to the hospital and Andrew and his parents go with her. You know this has to be the most exciting wedding these guests have ever attended! First, the bride walks out, and now the grandmother of the groom is being taken away a small plane because of a supposed heart attack. 

In the plane Gammy takes off her oxygen mask and tells Andrew and Joe that they need to stop fighting. She tells her son to promise her that he'll stand by Andrew even if he doesn't agree with him and she makes her grandson promise her that he'll "work harder to be a part of this family." They both promise. She replies, "Well, then, the spirits can take me" and closes her eyes. A moment later, she opens them and takes off her oxygen mask (which the EMT had put back on) and says, "I guess they're not ready for me" and tells the pilot she's "felling much better" and there's "no need to take us to the hospital." She asks him to take them to the airport instead. I called it because she admits she was faking the heart attack because "it was the only way I could get you two to make up and get us to the airport." Uh, wouldn't you get a fine for that? They probably didn't because she's the matricach of the richest family on the island. 

They get to the airport, but it's too late and Margaret has already left. Andrew gets on the next plane to New York. He runs to the office where Margaret is cleaning out her desk and professes his love for her in front of everybody. All the women are clutching their hands to their hears and oohing and aahing. At first, she's a little resistant, but then decides that she loves him too. He proposes to her, this time for real and wants her to marry him "because [he'd] like to date [her]." Everybody claps when they kiss, something that only happens in movies, let's be real. I don't buy that these two would become romantically involved, if anything, I can find them having more of a respect for each other. 

I know I called this movie mediocre, but it's not the worst thing to watch when you need something to do. There are some funny moments (although they are few and far between) and it's only an hour and a half. Also, if you do watch it and you're charmed by the town of Sitka, don't book your flight to Alaska just yet! The movie was actually filmed in Rockport, Massachusetts, which is in the northeast part of the state. The mountains that you see were CGIed in.