Margaret Tate (Sandra Bullock) works as a highly placed executive editor for a well respected book publisher in New York City. Margaret is very good at her job but the people who work for her consider her to be cold, heartless, and without any regard for them or their feelings. She has a very efficient assistant, Andrew Paxton (Ryan Reynolds) who somehow manages to keep up with her without quitting or being fired.
Everything is going well for Margaret until she learns that she is to be deported back to Canada. It seems that she never took the time to get the proper documentation to remain in the U. S. She tells her bosses that she has been secretly dating her assistant and that they are engaged to be married. Of course, after the marriage she will become an American citizen and the visa issues will go away.
Once she convinces Andrew that this arrangement is his best interests, they find that the INS has assigned an agent to their case, who believes that their upcoming marriage is a sham and is determined to expose them. Andrew, with the threat of imprisonment hanging over his head, negotiates an editor job and the publishing of his own book if he goes through with the deal.
In an effort to appear as a normal, engaged couple, they go to visit Andrew’s family in Alaska. It turns out that he grew up in a wealthy family in a small town where everybody knows everybody. She meets his family and they announce their intention of getting married. They stay in his family’s home where she learns of the tension between Andrew and his father, who wants him to take over the family business. Over a short period of time she grows fond of Andrew and his family who treat her as one of their own.
Andrew’s mother convinces them to get married there at home, and they reluctantly agree. Andrew is starting to have second thoughts about deceiving his family. Andrew’s mother (Mary Steenburgen) and grandmother Annie (Betty White) take Margaret into town for a wedding dress fitting. While in the dress shop Grandma Annie gives Margaret a necklace that had been in the family for 150 years.
Meanwhile, the INS agent, Mr. Gilbertson has been in contact with Andrew’s father (Craig T. Nelson). He travels to Alaska to confront Andrew and offer him a one time deal, admit that the marriage is a sham and he will go free while Margaret gets deported to Canada. Go through with it and he will go to prison. In defiance of his father Andrew tells them that the marriage is still on.
At the altar Margaret has a change of heart, telling everyone the truth about their business arrangement. She runs away with the INS agent in order to return to New York and prepare to go back to Canada. Andrew’s ex-girlfriend speaks with him and he realizes that he really does love Margaret and wants to marry her. He tries to catch her before she leaves Alaska but arrives at the airport too late.
He rushes back to New York and finds her at the office cleaning out her things. In front of the entire office he tells her he loves her and proposes. In the end we see them and Andrew’s family being interviewed by the INS agent in his attempt to foil what he still believes is a false marriage.
Watch the film. I very much like Sandra Bullock and Ryan Reynolds, so I knew I would like the film before I even saw it. And I did. It was funny, with great nature scenes and Betty White dancing a Native American dance around a fire in the woods. What more could you want? The chemistry between the main characters was convincing as was the way they gradually revealed their personal lives to each other.
I also like Craig T. Nelson and Mary Steenburgen, and they provided great performances as Andrew’s rich parents. Mary played her role of warm, loving mother just as convincingly as she has done in the past in other films. Craig was great as a gruff, no-nonsense father who just wants the best for his child.
Another character you will love is Ramone. He is a man of many talents. We see him as a somewhat less than hunky male stripper. The only male stripper in the area, apparently. He also works in a store, as a cater waiter, and as the local minister.