Runaway Bride (1999) – Review

3 Stars

Runaway Bride marked the long-awaited reuniting of Pretty Woman stars Julia Roberts and Richard Gere. They are once again directed by Gary Marshall who brings his almost patented graceful touch to the lightweight project. That the film works is a testament to the skill of Marshall, who deftly handles the tone, and his charismatic leads, who prove themselves an irresistible screen pairing. Runaway Bride does suffer when compared to the 1990’s classic Pretty Woman, most romantic comedies do, but for audiences with an open mind, Bride provides its own different charms.

Maggie Carpenter (Julia Roberts), is an attractive, single woman from Maryland. Every time Maggie plans a wedding, it always ends with her running away at the last second and leaving her fiance at the altar. To complicate matters, even more, all of Maggie’s weddings are captured forever on video. The tabloids pick up on the story of Maggie and her three jilted fiances, and give her the nickname, “Runaway Bride.” A columnist, Ike Graham (Richard Gere) living in New York City, learns about Maggie’s story and writes a hurtful column which gets him fired. However, a sleazy publisher offers Ike the job of writing an in-depth expose about Maggie and her jilted suitors to make amends.

Runaway Bride serves as the second installment of a defacto trilogy of blockbuster romantic comedies that Julia Roberts would star in before the end of the millennium. The others being My Best Friend’s Wedding and Notting Hill. All three are exquisite examples of a high craftsmanship working within the confines of a well established and beloved genre. Roberts and Gere once again provide a winning screen duo which goes a long way in making Runaway Bride go down smoother. Think of the picture as the cinematic equivalent of a summertime cocktail.

Director: Gary Marshall
Stars: Julia Roberts, Richard Gere, Hector Elizando, Rita Wilson, Christopher Meloni, Joan Cusack

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