Review by Greg King
3 stars out of 4
The chemistry between Richard Gere and Julia Roberts propelled
Pretty Woman, a contemporary reworking of the Pygmalion story, to the
top of the box office in 1990. The pair are reunited with director
Garry Marshall for the belated follow up, Runaway Bride, a film so
light weight that it is in danger of floating away. However, the
obvious charisma and magic between the pair again works a treat, and
lifts the formulaic material. Runaway Bride delivers laughs and charm
in equal measure, and provides more than enough to satisfy audiences.
This delightfully charming if improbable romantic comedy will be
another runaway hit at the box office.
Ike Graham (Gere) is a New York columnist with a cynical and
misogynist outlook that earns him the ire of his readers. Suffering
from writer's block with the deadline for his column only hours away,
he nurses his sorrows in a neighbourhood bar. There he hears the
story of a serial runaway bride who has a habit of leaving her
potential husbands at the altar. Graham writes the story without
checking the facts, and is promptly fired. Still intrigued by the
story he heads off to picturesque Hale, in upstate Maryland, hoping to
Maggie (Roberts) is deep in preparation for her fourth wedding
attempt. This time her fiancé is the town's football coach
(Christopher Meloni). Graham decides to follow Maggie around, hoping
to understand her fear of marriage. The prickly animosity between the
mismatched pair slowly melts and gives way to romance as they realise
they have more in common than they care to admit. The plot from this
point is fairly trite and predictable.
There is more of a slap stick sensibility to this film, and
the two stars throw themselves into their roles with an obvious
enthusiasm and relish. The eccentric townsfolk are treated as little
more than stereotypes - the alcoholic father (Paul Dooley), the foul
mouthed octogenarian (Jean Schertler), and the man hungry widow (an
uncredited Laurie Metcalf) - although the dependable Joan Cusack makes
the most of her role as Peggy, Maggie's understanding best friend.
Chicago Hope star Hector Elizondo, who has appeared in all ten of
Marshall's previous films, gets some of the best lines, which he
delivers in superbly droll fashion.
Marshall's direction is uninspired, but the chemistry between
the two stars makes this innocuous souffle worth watching. This is
the sort of thing that Roberts does best. My Best Friend's Wedding,
Notting Hill, and now Runaway Bride have re-established her as the
queen of Hollywood romantic comedies.
Copyright © 2000 Greg King