Bullock's return to comedy has clearly brightened her mood. A happy energy fills the suite of the Four Seasons, perhaps the result of early word of mouth that has been glowing. Her outfit reflects her upbeat state of mind. The tomboy in her might enjoy hopping on a Honda off-road dirt bike now and then. But, today, she's a vision in girly-girl glam with cascading tendrils of casually tossed hair, a sexy one-shoulder top, a flowery skirt that clings like a second skin and stiletto power shoes that swaddle her feet in chic gray suede.
Remark on her footwear's wow factor and her down-to-earthiness comes out: "I only buy shoes if they can go with more than one outfit, like jeans. Otherwise, never mind."
Her wardrobe might be flexible, but she remains stubbornly wary of labeling "The Proposal" as a romantic comedy. "It's a comedy that has romance in it," she insists. "When you say romantic comedy, everyone cringes."
Screwball comedy? That label is more to her liking, given that she and Reynolds spend much of the film engaged in the sort of rhythmic banter that was perfected by the likes of Katharine Hepburn and Cary Grant in the '30s and '40s.
"I've never had a dance partner like Sandra Bullock," says Reynolds, 32, who has done the romantic-comedy two-step before in "Van Wilder," "Just Friends" and "Definitely, Maybe." "It is incredibly rare someone as gorgeous as Sandra is so capable of self-effacing humor. My theory is that she has no idea of how gorgeous she is. She has a full life outside of Hollywood. The audience taps into that."
Screwball or romantic, there is at least one sign of progress in "The Proposal's" depiction of a relationship. Save for a snide aside by Andrew's 90-year-old "gammy" (the irrepressible Betty White), little is made of Margaret being older than Andrew — a reality reflected in Bullock's own marriage to James, who is five years younger. "The word cougar makes me want to throw up in my mouth," she says.
She often finds promoting her films to be a grind. "The worst thing is when the film stinks, you know it and they know it. But we pretend we don't know it." But doing publicity for The Proposal has been a breeze. That's in spite of everyone, including a nervously tittering Matt Lauer on the Today show this week, asking about the same scene: Bullock, fresh from the shower, and Reynolds, stripped down after a workout, accidentally bump into each fully naked, and she flops atop of him. It might be PG-13 nudity with all their naughtiest bits coyly covered, but given that the actress generally shuns such exposure, it's memorable nonetheless.
Pro that she is, she has quips at the ready. "Do I know Ryan? I know him more now than I ever have. He does have a birthmark and it's oddly shaped. If you like a guy who looks like that and is nice and talented and all that. Fine. If that's your thing. It's so not my thing. So that is why I was able to distance myself from it. It didn't become sexually charged, you know."
Asked if that is what she told her husband, she retorts, "Ryan would like to be married to Jesse. There is a bond there."