Runaway Bride

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(1999)

Film4: Thursday 12 November, 6.45pm

Stuck for ideas, cynical New York columnist Richard Gere takes potshots at small-town gal Julia Roberts, renowned locally for leaving bemused grooms at the altar. Holy matrimony! It’s happened three times so far and highschool sports coach Christopher Meloni is the next man in line. It seems it’s not just Gere’s character who’s stuck for ideas. So’s Hollywood if it thinks that this lazily contrived comic romance cuts the mustard.

Beyond reuniting the stars of Pretty Woman with its director, Garry Marshall, there seems to be little point to the production; the story is lame, the humour is laboured. Oh, and Julia Roberts’ reasons for running are valid, not very profound, and easily resolved. Characters this shallow and fake are rarely seen in minor TV sitcoms never mind in A-list studio pictures.

James Newton Howard’s music score is carefully calibrated to make the material seem classier than it actually is and maybe it helped – the film was a big box office hit in the States. The two best jokes are piffling incidentals: the local hairdressing salon is called Curl Up & Die, while Corey Fleming’s early-morning radio show is called Wake Up With Flem. Not good jokes, true, but they’re the best on offer here, believe me. What a farce.

Certificate: PG

Duration: 112min

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