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Laramie Movie Scope:
Runaway Bride

A screwball romantic comedy that doesn't quite work

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by Robert Roten, Film Critic
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August 2, 1999 -- "Runaway Bride," is a romantic comedy that almost works, except for one thing, there aren't any real people in it.

The movie is supposed to take place in a small, rural town, but the people don't act like small town folk. Instead of believable small town characters, we get a bunch of flakes who looked like they just escaped from a group therapy session in Hollywood.

One of those people who looks like she is playing herself is Julia Roberts ("Stepmom," "Notting Hill"), who stars as the runaway bride, Maggie Carpenter. Check out this story from E Online about how Julia's love life is just as much a shambles as it is in the movie.

Richard Gere ("Red Corner") stars as Ike Graham, a newspaper columnist who gets fired over a column he wrote about Carpenter, and who comes to town looking to get even. Carpenter is about to wed, her fourth attempt at completing nuptials, to Bob (Christopher Meloni of "Bound"), the local high school football coach.

The relentless way that Gere insinuates himself into the lives of the people of the town to get his story is funny. He is always one step ahead of Carpenter. Eventually, he even gets an interview with her. He also interviews her friends, her fiance and her family, who lends him the video of the first three weddings, which all end up with her running away.

There really aren't any surprises here. I'm sure you know where this is going. The romance is not believable, just as the characters are not believable. The only people who at least look believable are the New Yorkers who arrive at the wedding. They are stereotypes, but at least they look halfway realistic.

Gere and Roberts make a good couple, like they did in "Pretty Woman," but this is nowhere near as good as that film. There are some good comedy scenes in the movie. It works a lot better as a comedy than it does as a romance. The story also sputters to a weak conclusion as the screenwriters, Sara Parriott and Josann McGibbon, try to extricate themselves from the mess they got themselves into. The movie rates a C.

Click here for links to places to buy this movie in video and/or DVD format, the soundtrack, books, even used videos, games and lots of other stuff. I suggest you shop at least two of these places before buying anything. Prices seem to vary continuously. For more information on this film, click on this link to The Internet Movie Database. Type in the name of the movie in the search box and press enter. You will be able to find background information on the film, the actors, and links to much more information.

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Copyright © 1999 Robert Roten. All rights reserved.
Reproduced with the permission of the copyright holder.
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Robert Roten can be reached via e-mail at my last name at lariat dot org. [Mailer button: image of letter and envelope]