So we continue our month of marital bliss with a movie that I am somewhat shocked to say is absolutely terrible. The 1999 romantic comedy The Runaway Bride starring Richard Gere, Julia Roberts, and directed by romantic comedy director Garry Marshall had all the makings of a classic. How does this work? Gere and Roberts are two of the best actors to ever grace the silver screen and Garry Marshall who brought us Pretty Woman is a movie that Gere and Roberts starred in! How could this formula not churn out at least a modest success? I suppose the trio had more of a one hit wonder then they did any potential staying power.
Gere and Roberts play the characters Ike Graham and Maggie Carpenter respectfully. Ike is a chauvinistic and bitter journalist who works for his ex wife (what in God’s name would make you do that) and Maggie is a woman with commitment issues, those issues being that once the big wedding day comes, she bolts for the door. Apparently this story of a chick running out three times at the altar is big news for a New York City journalist and writes an inflammatory article on Maggie. This of course, rightfully infuriates Maggie who writes back to the newspaper about the fallacies in the article which leads to Ike being fired.
But this does not slow Ike down after he is invited to write a full detailed article about Maggie and her life. So he goes to the small town where Maggie lives and begin to delve into Maggie’s life. Maggie, on the other hand is trying to piece together her wedding to her fourth fiance Bob Kelly (Christopher Meloni) all the while having to deal with the meddlesome journalist. Of course this leads to where you would think that it would lead, with Maggie and Ike hooking up and thus we have our movie.
Soundtrack is Good
I have very little good things to say about this movie. But what I will say… It did have a nice soundtrack. With songs like Maneater from Hall and Oates and other artists like The Dixie Chicks, Eric Clapton, and Miles Davis. It at least gives me something nice to listen to while I’m watching a bad movie.
Why Does Anyone Care?
Why should we care how many times someone has taken off on their wedding day? Why is it news? Why is this even a premise. Even for tabloid journalism which 90% of the time is nothing more than really uncomfortable toilet paper, this premise seems really thin. Considering how marriages begin and end so easily, why would a woman in a small town who keeps taking off at the altar be that big of a deal? I can see why the town would be happy though the entire town going absolutely insane with champagne bottles and a woman beating herself over the head with a piece of bread might be a little excessive. But I don’t see how anyone else would even want to read it.
This is in the ‘meh’ category because I’m sure there are some people out there who would actually find the concept of a person who desires commitment so much that they would get engaged four times and then leave at the last possible second… But to me, I cannot even fathom this as news… I can’t even fathom this as an interesting story… I just can’t understand why anyone would care.
How is this even possible? Richard Gere and Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman are one of the most iconic romantic leads in the history of cinema. How can they both be in the same movie and have absolutely no chemistry? Make no mistake about it, from what it feels like in The Runaway Bride, it seems like Roberts and Gere have just met each other, let alone feel like a genuine couple. I wish I could blame the script, but even the two of them are selling their lines as if they were hoping to finish the scene so they could get a cup of coffee and read a book.
This is depressing, you would think that Gere and Roberts on camera would be instant romantic comedy gold… They had to try to lose all chemistry and likability in their voice. They had to snatch defeat out of the jaws of victory on this one.
This Woman Needs Help
After watching more cheesy romantic comedies than any sane person ever should, I have learned one fundamental truth that will decide whether the rom com is good or terrible and the rule is this; If you are playing off a serious mental or social ailment as laugh out loud comedy, then your romantic comedy is destined to fail. It is clear that Maggie’s problem goes far beyond her problems with commitment. This woman has some serious social anxiety issues with large crowds and big scenes. Even when she gets married to Ike, they do it in a field with a small group of people instead of in a church with hundred of thousands of onlookers. Is that all it took to have her married off? If that is the case, then she has made her life and other people’s lives hell because she has social issues that she isn’t working out. This isn’t funny or quirky, it makes this romantic comedy very tragic.
This movie is appalling. Richard Gere and Julia Roberts shockingly have no chemistry in what is by all means a flat film with a flat script. It is clear that the Maggie character has some serious issues that she is not working out and Ike is still a pretty sleazy human being. I can see hardly any redemption for this movie.
Final Score 1/5
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