Runaway Bride (1999)

Genres - Comedy, Romance  |   Sub-Genres - Romantic Comedy, Screwball Comedy  |   Release Date - Jul 30, 1999 (USA)  |   Run Time - 117 min.  |   Countries - United States   |   MPAA Rating - PG
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Review by Derek Armstrong

The reteaming of Julia Roberts and Richard Gere, almost ten years after Pretty Woman launched her into the cinematic stratosphere, was a fairly obvious ploy. And the resulting film, Runaway Bride, just as obviously gets its shoelaces tangled trying to duplicate the chemistry and charm of a one-time phenomenon. Roberts and Gere posed for the movie's poster on separate days, leaving them looking like cardboard cutouts propped against each other -- a good analogy for their onscreen performances. A blasé Gere steps into the familiar role of an affable lout who knows the first names of every blue-collar worker in his New York City neighborhood, establishing him as a populist hero who deserves the audience's affection. As if that environment weren't artificial enough, he then enters an idyllic Hollywood back lot of a "small town" where he virtually stalks Roberts, befriending nearly everybody and turning up at her every social gathering. All the while his job is in jeopardy, and though one might think he'd be hounded by pressure to produce, he exists on suspended movie time, coolly smelling as many roses as he wants. Roberts is fine in her role, but both actors could do this in their sleep. It's the kind of film viewers might find themselves liking, only to later realize that the set-ups are so prefabricated they leave them feeling sullied. This film performed at the box office in a big way -- sticking in the top five for weeks and netting $150 million domestically -- but that doesn't make it anything more than an empty crowd-pleaser.