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October 1999

Runaway Bride

Stacey Kimball reviews Runaway Bride.

Runaway Bride*** Faux-pair In Runaway Bride, Richard Gere plays Ike Graham, a columnist in trouble. He’s got writer’s block, a deadline and his boss is also his ex-wife (Rita Wilson). Retreating to a bar to brainstorm, Ike hears about Maggie Carpenter (Julia Roberts), a woman in rural Maryland who loves being engaged, but suffers from a chronic case of cold feet. Ike writes about Maggie without checking out his sources, whereupon he is promptly fired. Ike sets out to interview Maggie, to set the record straight and to reclaim his job. He discovers there is much more to her than just a fear of commitment and he ends up with the story of a lifetime. If you got warm fuzzies from Pretty Woman (1990), you won’t be disappointed with Runaway Bride. Both are directed by Garry Marshall, with a lead cast, characters and some scenes nearly interchangeable. The main difference is that now Roberts, not Gere, has top billing. This time, however, the comedy is more screwball than romantic — the content is more fluffy than filling. But Marshall sets a good table: a pleasant Norman Rockwellian environment, a rich musical score and a strong cast, including Joan Cusack, Paul Dooley and Marshall’s good luck charm Hector Elizondo (who has played minor roles in all 11 of Marshall’s films). Poor Hector. Always a bridesmaid, never a bride. <<<

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