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Not Pretty Woman but Pretty Good

 

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Sparks fly between Julia Roberts and Richard Gere in this amusing and enjoyable romantic comedy. Although not nearly as magical as Pretty Woman and certainly not an "A" movie, the stars' excellent acting saves the day. 

Savvy New York reporter Ike (Richard Gere) writes a popular column about women for the newspaper run by his ex-wife. He learns about Maggie (Julia Roberts), the "runaway bride," from a friend. Intrigued by her story, Ike makes Maggie the subject of his next column. When Ike's ex-wife realizes his latest column could be actionable, she sacks him.  

Ike decides to interview Maggie as a freelancer and, despite warnings, falls in love with her. But Ike faces many obstacles on the way to Maggie's heart. For example, he needs to get rid of potential victim -- er, fiance Number Four, not to mention figure out how to cure Maggie's fear of commitment. Ike helps Maggie find the confidence she needs to find true love and become her own person. He also helps her realize that she could become successful in New York. 

Although funny, a number of flaws mar Runaway Bride. The film's small-town setting, for example, seems just a little too quaint and old-fashioned. Maggie's relatives, especially her grandmother (who has a penchant for dirty jokes), seem just a little too wacky. You also know as soon as Ike arrives that Maggie's sports-mad boyfriend doesn't stand a chance -- especially with Maggie's girlfriend waiting in the wings.  

But even when Runaway Bride strains credulity, you can savor the excellent photography and beautiful autumn countryside. The soundtrack too works to make the story seem better than it is.  

And when all else fails, you can always enjoy the view -- of Julia Roberts and Richard Gere. 

Lisa-Anne Sanderson

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