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Movie Review

"Do you think there's one right person for everybody?" It's both a question and a wish in Runaway Bride. And when the credits roll, there is a "somebody" for everybody. But that's not the end of the story ...

This sugary film reassembles the cast from the 1990 R-rated hit Pretty Woman. Producers obviously count on chemistry to make this one big too. And it just might work—at least for a while. Meet Maggie. Three times already, she has ditched her man at the altar and run like mad. Now she's trying number four. But wait, look who just entered the scene: Ike Graham, a cynical-yet-sensitive, world-weary USA Today columnist. The details would spoil the story, so suffice it to say, groom number four had better be wary.

Positive Elements: Marriage and the commitments that accompany it are placed in high regard. Sure, Maggie runs screaming every time she looks down the aisle at a minister, and that's hardly fair to her beaus, but at least she's not going through with it only to get divorced a year later. Maggie cares deeply for her dad, who became an alcoholic after his wife died. Moviegoers will also see how thoughtless jokes at the expense of a family member or friend can really hurt.

Spiritual Content: Maggie, who isn't even Catholic, goes to confession to ask the priest if she can "Hail Mary" her way out of feelings of rage and revenge. She reminds the priest that he'd better not get cheeky, because not even ten years earlier, they had been making out together.

Sexual Content: Innuendo only. Maggie's grandmother tells her that when she consummated her marriage, she took a knitting needle to bed with her, presumably to tame what she refers to as the "one-eyed snake." Maggie's fiancé wears a T-shirt emblazoned with the slogan, "Mountaineers do it against the wall." At a luau theme party, Maggie, and a few other women—including a hula dancer—wear skimpy Hawaiian costumes. There's talk about a picture of a topless Maggie at a concert in the '60s (Ike makes a risqué comment about her nipples). One passing gay joke is thrown in as well.

Violent Content: During the wedding rehearsal, Maggie's fiancé punches Ike in the face after Ike and Maggie kiss right in front of him.

Crude or Profane Language: Five or six minor profanities and a couple of exclamatory uses of God's name.

Drug and Alcohol Content: Maggie's father is a drunk, but his alcoholism is not taken lightly. Ike frequents a bar in New York City, but isn't shown drinking. A celebratory bottle of champagne is uncorked.

Other Negative Elements: A subtle, pro-feminist slant pops up at odd intervals, and is woven into the story line. Parents should be mindful of this and be on guard against it. Also, Maggie has an odd habit of breaking into Ike's residences (a hotel and an apartment). Once, she "steals" some of his things.

Summary: This is of the cleanest love stories to come out of Hollywood in quite some time. A statement that proves once again that the bar isn't set all that high anymore (note the caveats above). At first glance Runaway Bride looks like a runaway success. Watch out if you want to watch it twice, though. You'll see that the luster's all worn off.

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Julia Roberts as Maggie Carpenter; Richard Gere as Ike Graham; Joan Cusack as Peggy; Hector Elizondo as Fisher; Rita Wilson as Ellie


Garry Marshall ( )


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Steven Isaac

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