Runaway Bride

Pretty Woman proved that the Disney people—or Julia Roberts's smile—could sell just about anything, including a misogynistic celebration of big business and prostitution. This romantic comedy from Paramount (1999, 116 min.), which reunites Roberts and Richard Gere with director Garry Marshall, presumes we're so ready to love them all over again that we'll accept the characters' sudden shift from loathing to doting when Marshall says abracadabra. But I wonder. Gere plays a male-chauvinist New York newspaper columnist who ridicules Roberts's character for her habit of backing out of weddings at the last minute; when he's fired for flubbing some facts he hunts her down in rural Maryland to write one more story. And guess what? Maybe writers Josann McGibbon and Sara Parriott were thinking of Tracy and Hepburn—assuming they were thinking of anything—but not even Roberts's smile can put this one over. With Hector Elizondo, Joan Cusack, Rita Wilson, and Paul Dooley.

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