A pushy boss forces her young assistant to marry her in order to keep her Visa status in the U.S. and avoid deportation to Canada.
Deportation, Partial Male Nudity, Humiliation, Canadian Stereotype, Cross Examination
Margaret Tate (Sandra Bullock) is the executive editor in chief of a book publishing company. Her subordinates dislike her because she is pushy and cold. After learning she is about to be deported to Canada because of an expired visa, she convinces her assistant, Andrew Paxton (Ryan Reynolds), to marry her. Both visit Immigration where an officer, Mr. Gilbertson (Denis O'Hare), informs them that he suspects they are committing fraud to avoid Margaret's deportation. Gilbertson tells them that they'll be asked questions about each other separately. If their answers don't match, Margaret will be deported to Canada and Andrew will be convicted of a felony punishable by a $250,000 fine and five years in prison. Andrew insists that Margaret make him an editor after their marriage and publish his book. Margaret agrees.
The couple travels to Sitka, Alaska, Andrew's home town, to meet his family. Margaret meets Andrew's mother Grace (Mary Steenburgen) and grandmother Annie (called Gammy) (Betty White). During the trip to the family home, Margaret notices that nearly every shop in town carries the name Paxton. Margaret realizes that Andrew is an "Alaskan Kennedy". Margaret meets Gertrude (Malin Åkerman), Andrew's ex-girlfriend. During a welcome home party, Andrew confronts his father, Joe (Craig T. Nelson), who is angry about Andrew's dating the boss he has so long disliked and thinks he is using her to get ahead in his career. After their argument, Andrew announces the engagement to everyone. After the party is over, Grace and Gammy show Margaret and Andrew the bedroom they will share during the weekend.
The next day, Grace and Annie take Margaret to a local bar to watch a strip dance by a locally famous but over-the-hill exotic dancer, Ramone (Oscar Nunez). Stepping away from the show, Margaret learns from Gertrude that Andrew wanted to become an editor and make his own life (much to his father's disappointment) and that Andrew had proposed to Gertrude. However, Gertrude refused because she didn't want to leave Sitka for New York.
Returning home, Margaret learns of the conflict between Andrew and Joe. That night, as they fall asleep, Andrew on the floor, Margaret asks Andrew about his relationship with his father, but Andrew refuses to talk. In response, Margaret begins to share personal information about herself with Andrew.
The next day, the family convinces them to marry while they're in Sitka. Andrew is stressed, and Margaret tries to comfort him. After Margaret realizes how much trouble she is making for Andrew, she hijacks a boat (with a confused Andrew). She tells him she has been alone since she was 16 years old after her parents died and had forgotten what it felt like to have a family. She lets go of the helm and stumbles to the back of the boat. Andrew makes a sharp turn to avoid hitting a buoy, and Margaret falls out of the boat. Andrew quickly turns the boat around and saves her.
The same day, Gilbertson contacts Joe about the sham marriage. Joe invites him to Sitka.
At the wedding ceremony, Margaret confesses the sham marriage to the entire assemblage, including Gilbertson, who informs her she has 24 hours to leave for Canada. Margaret returns to the Paxton home to pack her things. Andrew rushes to their room only to find Margaret has already left, leaving his book manuscript with a note of praise and a promise to publish it. Gertrude attempts to comfort Andrew and asks if he is going to go after her.
As he rushes out of the house to find Margaret, another argument arises between him and Joe. Annie fakes a heart attack and convinces them to reconcile before she "passes away". Annie admits faking the attack. Andrew's parents realize he really loves Margaret. Andrew goes to New York and tells Margaret he loves her in front of the entire office staff. The couple go to Gilbertson and inform him they are again engaged, but for real this time.