Roberts Geres up for Another Wedding
It's hard not to deny that "Pretty Woman" starring Julia Roberts and Richard Gere has become a modern rom-com classic, helping to turn Julia Roberts into a major Hollywood star. So it's no surprise that at some point they would try and recapture that screen magic and chemistry between Roberts & Gere in another movie, that being the 1999 release "Runaway Bride". Whilst not a terrible movie and frankly mildly entertaining, it lacks that good storyline, the romance and original comedy to make it really stand out, especially when compared to "Pretty Woman", relying more on the names of Julia Roberts and Richard Gere to carry it.
Ike Graham (Richard Gere - The Jackal) is a New York columnist who having heard a story about a woman who flees her groom at the altar decides it would make a great story. But when the woman in question, Maggie Carpenter (Julia Roberts - Notting Hill), reads the column she is less than impressed firing off a letter to the editor requesting action against the fabricated article, which has the knock on effect of getting Ike fired. Wanting vindication he heads off to the small town of Hale where Maggie is preparing for her next wedding, hoping to get the whole truth about this woman but doesn't expect to be so charmed by her.
Whilst not a sequel it's very hard not to make comparisons between "Runaway Bride" and "Pretty Woman", which is a little unfair but by pairing up Julia Roberts and Richard Gere again sort of it enforces it especially in another fairytale, romantic comedy. So compared to "Pretty Woman", "Runaway Bride" is mediocre, lacking that feeling of fantasy romance, that fairytale which whicks you off into another world. Although saying that it still firmly resides in the world of fantasy insisting that you suspend belief as the story veers off in a world detached from reality, which is nothing less than you really expect from what tries to be a fairytale romance.
It doesn't help that it's all very predictable and the ending is telegraphed within the first few minutes of the movie starting, it's another case of can it entertain with what comes in-between. Whilst it does entertain it's all too obvious, there is nothing which really comes along which will surprise you and it all feels a little lethargic, jokes are not hugely funny or original, whilst the romance feels minimal, in many ways it is floating in mediocrity trading more on it's star names than on the actual movie itself
What saves "Runaway Bride" is not so much the pairing of Julia Roberts and Richard Gere but just Julia Roberts as her smile lights up the screen. There are numerous scenes where just her eyes and smile set it alight but the one where she tries on the wedding dress has that magic, that feeling or romantic fantasy that makes watching all the cliche scenes and comedy worth it.
Richard Gere on the other hand is a bit of a disappointment, his laid back approach to a character which should be less lethargic causes it to feel flat and wrong. He trades on his charm and looks more than on creating a character. The good thing is there is a lot of natural chemistry between them making it entertaining to watch despite the characters being wrong.
What this all boils down to is that "Runaway Bride" is frankly a disappointment and would probably have not been much better even if the comparisons to "Pretty Woman" wern't so forced. It all feels a little lack lustre, as if the storyline although a good idea was cobbled together for the sole purpose of reuniting Julia Roberts and Richard Gere. It's Roberts whose glorious smile saves the movie from being completely mediocre otherwise it is what it is, a slightly entertaining run of the mill rom-com.