CHEAP DATE NIGHT

RUNAWAY BRIDE

Director Garry Marshall
Year 1999
Starring Julia Roberts, Richard Gere, Joan Cusack, Christopher Meloni, Hector Elizondo, Paul Dooley, Rita Wilson, Donal Logue
Rating PG
Run Time 116min
Age Policy

18 and up; Children 6 and up will be allowed only with a parent guardian. No children under the age of 6 will be allowed.

More Info IMDb

In honor of the Kalamazoo Marathon, we are presenting RUNAWAY BRIDE as a post-Marathon luau, with free popcorn and prizes for all Marathoners!

What do Geena Davis, Demi Moore, Sandra Bullock and Ellen DeGeneres have in common? At one time or another during the 1990s, each flirted with starring in RUNAWAY BRIDE, a movie that took a very long time to make it to the theatrical finish line. In the end, none of those stars caught the bouquet: The title character was instead played by Julia Roberts.

By that time -- 1999 -- RUNAWAY BRIDE had become a rather eagerly anticipated picture, since it marked Roberts' reunion with her PRETTY WOMAN co-star Richard Gere and their director, Garry Marshall. The trio had resisted all attempts (and there were several) to put together a PRETTY WOMAN sequel in which the love of Roberts' Vivian and Gere's Edward would be tested when he went into politics and her chequered past was revealed.

In the nine years since their previous collaboration, things had changed substantially for the stars. When they filmed PRETTY WOMAN, Roberts was still very much an ingenue whose only notable credits were MYSTIC PIZZA, a supporting role in STEEL MAGNOLIAS and a rather embarrassing turn as a promiscuous would-be rocker in SATISFACTION (which marked the only time in movie history that Justine Bateman was billed above Roberts and Liam Neeson). On the other hand, Gere was a well-established worldwide star, known both as a sex symbol (AMERICAN GIGOLO, BREATHLESS) and as a romantic lead (AN OFFICER AND A GENTLEMAN). By the time PRETTY WOMAN came along, Gere was actually trying to re-establish himself after several years of box office duds (KING DAVID, POWER, NO MERCY). The one-two punch of PRETTY WOMAN and his acclaimed, menacing role as a sinister cop in INTERNAL AFFAIRS effectively kick-started his career.

By 1999, Roberts was the bigger box office attraction, thanks to hits like MY BEST FRIEND'S WEDDING and NOTTING HILL, which opened two months before BRIDE. Their shifting statuses did not to diminish their chemistry, however, and Roberts and Gere once again seduced the masses and brought in enormous revenues (RUNAWAY BRIDE made over $152 million in the U.S. alone).

Instead of the chic Beverly Hills setting of PRETTY WOMAN, most of RUNAWAY BRIDE takes place in rural Maryland, where lovely but slightly neurotic Maggie (Roberts) has made an unfortunate habit of getting engaged, then developing cold feet and bolting from the church at the last minute (the movie opens with the memorable image of her in a lacy wedding dress, fleeing on horseback from her latest attempt at matrimony while U2 sings "I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For"). Maggie's love-'em-and-leave-'em-at-the-altar antics attract the unwanted attention of USA Today columnist Ike (Gere), who travels to her hometown of Hale, Maryland, to see if Maggie will ditch her latest fiance, football coach Bob Kelly (Christopher Meloni). Ike has branded Maggie as a "maneater" (cue the Hall & Oates hit), but he changes his opinion when he witnesses the way she is treated by her family and supposed friends, none of whom seem to recognize that there's more to Maggie than meets the eye.

Roberts and Gere once again make an irresistible team, and those who know PRETTY WOMAN by heart will be tickled by the inside jokes that were cleverly worked into several scenes. The stars are superbly supported by the excellent Meloni, the always appealingly wacky Joan Cusack (as Maggie's best buddy and all-too-frequent bridesmaid), Rita Wilson and Donal Logue, in an amusing bit as a priest who happens to be one of Maggie's former flames. Still, Marshall didn't forget his old friends: It's Hector Elizondo, a key player in Marshall's repertory company, who gets the single funniest line of the movie. (James Sanford)

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