Movie Mom

Think “Taming of the Shrew Wears Prada.” Book editor Margaret (Sandra Bullock) is whip-smart and whippet-thin, ferociously competent, ruthlessly demanding, and just plain scary. When she strides into the office in her spike Christian Louboutin heels, IMs radiate through the company: “The witch is on her broom!” And everyone switches into high-productivity mode. She is all-business, ambitious, and ferocious. When we first see her, she is riding her exercise bicycle indoors front of a video of the outdoors but even that does not hold her attention; she is also reading a manuscript.

Andrew (Ryan Reynolds) is her assistant. For three beleaguered years, he has been at her beck and call 24/7, from her morning coffee to midnight runs to giving up his grandmother’s 90th birthday party so he can work all weekend. She treats him like something between a prop and a galley slave. In other words, they’re made for each other and we will have the pleasure of seeing them figure that out.

The structure is familiar — and overly revealed in the trailer — but the comic timing is impeccable, with Betty White adding sparkle as Andrew’s 90-year-old “Gammy.” Bullock is just the actress to show us the vulnerability that makes Margaret hold on so tightly and Reynolds is strong enough (he was the bad guy in “Wolverine” after all) to keep Andrew from seeming henpecked and deft enough to make us see why he is up to Margaret’s level. The Alaskan scenery is like a commercial for Sarah Palin’s travel bureau and it is spicy without being smarmy, an increasingly rare achievement for date movies these days.

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