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Review: Roberts runs away with hearts in 'Runaway Bride'

July 29, 1999
Web posted at: 1:29 p.m. EDT (1729 GMT)

By Reviewer Paul Clinton

(CNN) -- In 1990, a comedy called "Pretty Woman" earned $178 million at the box office and made a major star of Julia Roberts. That film co-starred Richard Gere and was directed by Garry Marshall. Now, the threesome is reunited in the new movie "Runaway Bride."

In these uncertain times, it's comforting to know there are still a few things we can count on: death, taxes and Roberts' delivery in a romantic comedy. She smiles. You melt.

In "Runaway Bride," Roberts plays Maggie Carpenter, a woman living in a small town in Maryland. She can't seem to make it all the way down the aisle, despite three ill-fated attempts at matrimony. Now, she's become somewhat of a town joke, and even her family joins in on the ribbing.

Theatrical preview for "Runaway Bride"
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Paul's Pix for "Runaway Bride"
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Her latest fiancé -- or victim, depending on your point of view -- is Coach Bob, played by Christopher Meloni. He's trying to help her to focus on the moment and keep her "eye on the ball," in hopes of actually getting her to say, "I do."

Gere plays Ike Graham, a cynical New York City newspaper columnist who writes about her mishaps, and is fired when he gets his facts wrong. Desperate to prove himself right, he heads for Maryland, and begins to shadow Maggie as she tries for wedding No. 4. Of course, they fall in love.

Romantic chemistry between movie stars can't be bought, faked or bottled. And in "Runaway Bride," Gere and Roberts have a plentiful supply. This film is exactly what you hoped it would be and more.

She even rides a horse

Roberts gets to wear wedding gown after wedding gown, fall in love with Gere again, and she even rides a horse. Please, pass the popcorn.

Special kudos go to Joan Cusack, who plays Roberts' best friend Peggy. This woman is a comedic gold mine, not to mention one of the best character actresses around today.

Laurie Metcalf (sister Jackie on "Roseanne"), is also a fine comedic actress. She appears in a truly hysterical cameo as a local shopkeeper, Mrs. Trout.

Marshall's comedic pacing is, as usual, perfect. And once again he's gotten a funny performance from Gere -- an actor not known for comedic ability.

This script by Josann McGibbon and Sara Parriott, is tailored to the dynamic between these two superstars. Although you know who's going to end up with whom at the end, you find yourself rooting for them just the same. It's sweet, charming, witty and funny. "Runaway Bride" is a great date movie.

"Runaway Bride" and is rated PG with a running time of 116 minutes.

Gere says 50, fatherhood looking good
July 26, 1999
Julia Roberts: Money's not the motivator
July 19, 1999
Review: Julia, Hugh a perfect match for 'Notting Hill'
May 27, 1999

Official 'Runaway Bride' site
Paramount Pictures
Touchstone Pictures
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