In honor of the new Sandra Bullock-Ryan Reynolds film “The Proposal,” I have a proposition of my own to all filmmakers: Please stop making the same cookie-cutter romantic comedies.

Here’s another predictably bad entry in the genre, with practically no redeeming factors, except for the inclusion of the great Betty White.

Bullock stars as Margaret Tate, a no-nonsense, career-oriented book editor who faces deportation to her native Canada.

Margaret quickly hatches a plan to stay in the United States, forcing her hard-working assistant Andrew into agreeing to marry her. He reluctantly agrees, but only if Margaret gives him a promotion.

When the “couple” heads to Alaska to meet Andrew’s family, the seemingly fool-proof plan starts to crack when the family suggests Margaret and Andrew get married during the weekend visit.

If you’ve seen the trailer for “The Proposal” - or any other romantic comedy in the past 100 years - you’ll know exactly where this is headed.

That wouldn’t be a problem if the leads had any kind of chemistry, but Bullock and Reynolds lack any sort of spark. Bullock’s performance comes across as quite desperate (and it doesn’t help that her character is extremely unlikable), while Reynolds continues to recycle his “Van Wilder” role.

The cast also includes Mary Steenburgen, Craig T. Nelson and Malin Akerman, but they are all wasted in cliched roles. White is the only person who brings any life to “The Proposal,” as Andrew’s outspoken grandmother, but even her work is tarnished by a horrible script that puts her in one of the film’s most uncomfortable scenes (an Indian war dance with White and Bullock).

Unfortunately, that isn’t the only moment that made me cringe. There are so many uncomfortable moments in “The Proposal” that the end result is more like a blind date from hell than a feel-good romantic comedy.

DVD dandy of the week

This week’s dandy is “The International” (B), a smart thriller that features one of the most exciting action sequences in recent memory.

Clive Owen stars as Louis, an Interpol agent attempting to uncover illegal activities - including money laundering and arms trading - of a high-profile bank.

The investigation is a worldwide affair that eventually leads Louis to New York, where he seeks the help of an assistant DA (Naomi Watts) who is just as determined to bring the heads of the bank to justice.

Owen and Watts are both solid in a film that reminded me of the early James Bond films. Director Tom Tyker makes the most of his global story, culminating in a 10-minute stretch that really makes “The International” worth seeing - a gunfight in the Solomon Guggenheim Museum that is one of the best action sequences in recent memory.

“The International” is rated R for some sequences of violence and language and is now available on DVD.

— Sportswriter/movie reviewer Micheal Compton is the picture of international intrigue. You can contact him by e-mailing - but please, write in code and erase your tracks.


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