The Proposal (2000) from Johnny Web (Uncle Scoopy; Greg Wroblewski) and Tuna

We actually have a tiny disagreement on this one! Well, sort of. We both liked it, but I kinda liked it and Tuna loved it. So his thumb way up is balanced by my thumb wavering, starting to point upward.

Tuna's comments in white:

I just watched the best thriller I have seen in a long while, and then, as usual, went to IMDB to see what others thought of it. I was amazed to
discover that this wonderful film had no US release in theaters, and no reviews. The one comment at IMDB is right on the money. Only 14 have voted so far, but have it at 7.6/10. My vote should slightly raise the score. I am at a loss to explain why a film that is more entertaining than at least two of last years Best Picture nominees could not secure a US release. It is possible that it was made as a pilot for a TV series, especially given that it stars Jennifer Esposito.

Terry Martin (Nick Moran) is deep undercover, trying to put away bad guy Simon Bacig (played to perfection by Stephen Lang). When he suddenly needs to produce his fictional wife for a party, he is assigned a rookie officer, Esposito, who immediately entangles herself in the case and becomes his full-time partner. As a cop that has survived under cover by trusting nobody, and by being anally careful, Nick is not thrilled to suddenly have a partner, but is immediately and strongly sexually attracted to her. She seems to feel the same attraction. That is the set-up, and, since I am calling this a must rent, I won't spoil any of the surprises. 

The film manages a complex plot, with plenty of plot twists, and has not one word of voice-over, and very few purely expository scenes. Not only that, but all of the plot twists are believable, and justified from the beginning of the film. Art design is better than required for a film of this genre, and the photography was clear, with no distracting effects, and a few artistic angles. It was the tight plot and the great performances,
however, that made this film. My only criticism is that they made an R rated film, and didn't include nudity. Esposito does show minor cleavage. I have to give this film a B+. It is not an important film, and breaks no new ground, but it is a very very good one.

Scoopy's comments in yellow: 


Sorry, I will spoil the surprises, so don't read further if you really want to see it based on Tuna's review. Come back and read this later.


none. Sorry. Esposito looked great, though.
I don't really agree with Tuna on this one. I liked the movie pretty well, but I don't think it was a great flick, just another solid undercover cobs-and-robbers flick with a zillion layers of onion to peel. 

A couple of details were sloppy. Our hero is supposed to be so careful about every detail, so as not to be exposed. Well, I'll give you a clue, pal, if you pretend to be an American mobster, and you pronounce the word "assume" as "as-shoom", you had better be prepared for a good  explanation of that. I suggest telling them that you're actually undercover, pretending to be Sean Connery. That's a rather large detail that would immediately demonstrate to any American anywhere, mobster or otherwise, that whatever else you might be, you are NOT American.

I didn't think the plot was all that hard to figure out, either, although I didn't get the details exactly right. The FBI stumbled over our hero's undercover operation without previously telling him they were operating in the area, and the head FBI agent said two things to him that gave away the plot:

1. The FBI agents knew that our hero was a cop.

2. The FBI agents told him that they were investigating leaks in the police force.


1. The leak in the police force had to be Jennifer Esposito or our hero's boss. There are no other meaningful cops in the plot.

2. Jennifer was supposed to be a rookie cop just out of training, so the FBI couldn't have been investigating her; therefore, they must have been investigating our hero's boss.

3. If they weren't co-operating with our hero's boss, how could they know our hero was a cop? Only one way. Esposito must have told them, because she was the only other one who knew. Therefore, Esposito had to be an undercover FBI agent. 

If you watch the film, you will see that the plot is far, far more complex than I have indicated. Esposito is running about a zillion different scams at once. the police think she's a cop. the mobsters think she's a mobster. The FBI -well, she really is one of them, I guess.  I think she's an undercover FBI agent who infiltrated the police force, and the mob guys thought they had simply bribed a rookie cop  onto the payroll. Since the captain was on the mob payroll, it explains why he insisted on using her on the case, so the mob guys could get the taped evidence which even the police captain couldn't pry out of our hero.

It does seem a bit convenient that the mob chose to bribe a police officer who was actually an FBI agent pretending to be a police officer, but I guess that could happen to those people under deep cover. They just have to go along with the opportunities that fall into their laps.

DVD info from Amazon.

  • Widescreen anamorphic, 1.85:1

  • Full-length director commentary

  • behind the scenes featurette and trailer

One thing I did like about the film was the director's unique way to create mystery by misleading us with scenes out of context. For example, we see our hero get patted down. He's packing a bunch of guns, but the guy waves him in anyway. What's that all about? Well, we find out later. They don't care about guns - they expect a mob guy to be carrying an armory on him - they're actually patting him down for a wire! There were several such scenes which were explained by future developments, including the very opening of the film.

Another thing I liked was the way they maintained suspense in several individual scenes. (For example, when we think our hero's secret wire has been uncovered for sure). People who walked by while I was watching it got hooked and had to see how a couple of scenes would turn out.

So, I guess I don't disagree with Tuna that strongly. He loved it and thought it was exceptional. I liked it and thought it was a solid genre picture, but not too much more. His rating indicates you'll like it even if you don't like this type of film. I didn't think it was that good, and recommend it only to those who are predisposed to enjoy the twists and turns of a good undercover cop story, which it is. 

The Critics Vote

  • no major reviews.

The People Vote ...

  • With their votes ... IMDB summary: IMDb voters score it 7.0, 
  • straight-to-vid
IMDb guideline: 7.5 usually indicates a level of excellence, about like three and a half stars from the critics. 6.0 usually indicates lukewarm watchability, about like two and a half stars from the critics. The fives are generally not worthwhile unless they are really your kind of material, about like two stars from the critics. Films under five are generally awful even if you like that kind of film, equivalent to about one and a half stars from the critics or less, depending on just how far below five the rating is.

My own guideline: A means the movie is so good it will appeal to you even if you hate the genre. B means the movie is not good enough to win you over if you hate the genre, but is good enough to do so if you have an open mind about this type of film. C means it will only appeal to genre addicts, and has no crossover appeal. D means you'll hate it even if you like the genre. E means that you'll hate it even if you love the genre. F means that the film is not only unappealing across-the-board, but technically inept as well.

Based on this description, this film is a B+ from Tuna, C+ from Scoop.

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