Urban Cinefile
"Ooh, I can't be seen in a dress again, I must go and do something butch. But I thought, why do I have to go and do something butch?"  -Guy Pearce on his role in Dating the Enemy after Priscilla
 The World of Film in Australia - on the Internet Updated Tuesday September 15, 2020 

Printable page PRINTABLE PAGE



New York columnist Ike Graham (Richard Gere), is fired by his editor (and ex-wife) Ellie (Rita Wilson), who is now remarried to Fisher (Hector Elizondo), after a libelous column about a small-town girl, Maggie (Julia Roberts), who runs from her weddings (last count, three) as soon as she sights the altar. When, with nothing better to do and the chance of a story in a magazine Fisher's working for, he goes to rural Maryland to verify his piece by getting the inside story, witnessing Maggie's next planned wedding, this time to Bob (Christopher Meloni). He makes good progress with the story until she touches his heart.

Review by Louise Keller:
"Light and frivolous, Runaway Bride is a playful romantic comedy whose cast is just so darn likeable, you can't help but want to runaway too. It's a fairy tale romance you know the improbable, kind - like Pretty Woman, My Best Friend's Wedding, Notting Hill and The Wedding Singer, which all rely on the credibility and charm of the stars to win you over. It's contrived, blatantly commercial and too long with a script that wanders. In short, it's flawed, but it doesn't matter. The Gere/Roberts charisma is at work again (he in his element as the charming smooth talker; she as the vulnerable gal searching for Mr Right). They're in fine form here and solidly backed up by a great supporting cast with Rita Wilson, Pretty Woman's Hector Elizondo and the delightful Joan Cusack, whose irresistible delivery is always a joy to watch. Buried in the predictable and often corny plot are some delectable moments just when you think the film's pulse has stopped, out of the blue there's a dash of magic, and we're sucked in all over again. There are no stunts or special effects; just top performances, witty lines, an upbeat contempo soundtrack with a touch of Miles Davis, all packaged up Hollywood style in a glossy production. Runaway Bride is basically a 'boy meets girl' story, with some twists, somersaults and surprises to keep us amused. Besides, director Gary Marshall is a sorcerer when it comes to delivering on-screen chemistry as we've learned over the years. Good hearted and delivered with a light touch, Runaway Bride is an old fashioned love story that spells good ol' entertainment."

Review by Andrew L. Urban:
"Hmmm. This old journo found much of the premise laboured and the fun predictable. Yes, the team is appealing and the star power of Gere and Roberts is unmistakable, but director Gary Marshall seems to have been a bit too clever in limiting opportunities for the chemistry between the two to work. And that was what made Pretty Woman work. Perhaps he was trying too hard not to repeat himself. Good idea, but it takes away the nuclear fusion of the romantic fairy tale. The film ends up feeling a bit long, a bit contrived - although plenty of fun. The biggest obstacle to its success is its lack of economy; it soon gets bogged down in obtuse sidebar events. The other thing journos would notice is the luxury of Ike's apartment. For God's sake, how much does a columnist (on the risky side of a sinecure) really earn? Seeing he's no longer solid with the editor, can I have his job? In short, I sorta liked it, sorta believed in some of it and sorta wish Marshall had struck it lucky again."

Review by Lee Gough:
"To their credit, the team behind Pretty Woman have not gone for a sequel on their follow up nine years down the track. Director, Garry Marshall and stars, Julia Roberts and Richard Gere have tried for something different. Unfortunately the differences don't make for a better film. Yes we have the unlikely love story again, but the contrivances in this version are too obvious to overlook. Perhaps the key fault is that the stars seem to have lost their chemistry in the intervening years. Individually they still light up the screen. That's what stars do. But when we are more enchanted by simply looking at them on the big screen - Roberts does a delightful platypus impression - then we know that something is wrong with the basic structure of the film. And what is wrong is that it's all so predictable. Act I sets up the reasons for their hateful coming together, Act II plays on that, and Act III has them getting to see each other as real people for the first time (the car breaks down). And we know the rest. We knew the rest before we entered the cinema but it's difficult to care for the characters. Roberts seems perfectly able to cope with her altar phobia and would probably survive quite well without ever getting married. The Gere character is not overly likeable but is missing the roguish charm that needs to accompany such a guy. Marshall has peopled his movie with great supporting characters with some of the best lines. Joan Cusack, Paul Dooley, and Laurie Metcalf all help to hold the movie together. But somehow the glue is showing."

Email this article

Favourable: 1
Unfavourable: 1
Mixed: 1

Why Wait at the Altar?


CAST: Julia Roberts, Richard Gere, Joan Cusack, Hector Elizondo, Rita Wilson, Paul Dooley

DIRECTOR: Gary Marshall

PRODUCER: Ted Field, Tom Rosenberg, Scott Kroopf, Robert Cort

SCRIPT: Sara Prriott, Josann McGibbon


EDITOR: Bruce Green

MUSIC: James Newton Howard


RUNNING TIME: 119 minutes



VIDEO RELEASE: March 1, 2000 (rental); April 24, 2002 (sell-thru)

VIDEO DISTRIBUTOR: Buena Vista Home Entertainment

Urban Cinefile 1997 - 2020