Another DVD in my drawer was Runaway Bride, pairing Richard Gere and Julia Roberts in a romantic comedy again, nine years after Pretty Woman debuted. The film is rated PG for language and some suggestive dialogue. Garry Marshall, the director who got such great performances from Gere and Roberts in Pretty Woman, directed it. The screenwriters of Runaway Bride, Josann McGibbon and Sara Parriott, wrote a beautiful and funny screenplay, impeccably rendered by cast and crew with fine acting and attention to detail.
Ike Graham (Richard Gere) is a columnist for USA Today, always the “last-minute” man, ideas for his column not striking till an hour or so before deadline. He meets George Swilling (Reg Rogers) who tells him about Maggie, a runaway bride from Hale, New York, who has jilted men at the altar 7 or 8 times.
Ike writes the column without checking the facts, and Maggie Carpenter (Julia Roberts) is infuriated with the fabrication of her life. She gets his editor Ellie (Rita Wilson), who also just happens to be Ike’s ex-wife, to fire him.
Now out of a job, Ellie’s husband Fisher (Hector Elizondo) suggests to Ike that he write a full-length article about Maggie to redeem his reputation. Ike drives out to Hale in search of the truth. He quickly wins over the entire town, and friends and family of Maggie’s eagerly tell him about Maggie’s three failed attempts to tie the knot.
Ike and Maggie, first at odds with each other, eventually feel sparks of attraction between them. Ike couldn’t be more charming, and this is one of Richard Gere’s best romantic roles. He gets to deliver some great lines about romance, marriage proposals, and honeymoons. It is no surprise that Maggie eventually falls for him.
Maggie backs out of her 4th scheduled wedding to Coach Bob Kelly (Christopher Meloni), and Ike and Maggie are set to be married instead. But will Maggie flee from Ike as she has the previous three grooms?
Runaway Bride is clever and enjoyable, the small town of Hale in autumn is brought to life in quaint detail (was actually filmed in Maryland), and there is great chemistry between all the actors, thanks to Garry Marshall as director, and of course the inherent talent of the actors. Joan Cusack delivers another fine performance as Maggie’s best friend, Peggy Flemming, who helps coach her to success. By the end of the film, Maggie has examined her life and why she always gets cold feet. I highly recommend it to you, and it would be a good film for teens to watch as well. There is not a lot of language that parents might object to, and no sex scenes. The messages about marriage that are delivered as Ike researches Maggie and who she is are really priceless. It would make a great date night movie, and one for those who are newly engaged! I’ll be passing on this wonderful comedy so others can enjoy it as much as I do.