Runaway Bride

Movie review by
Nell Minow, Common Sense Media
Runaway Bride Movie Poster Image
Cute romantic comedy OK for most older kids.
  • PG
  • 1999
  • 116 minutes

Parents say

age 11+
Based on 4 reviews

Kids say

age 11+
Based on 4 reviews

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

Encourages being aware of behavior that may hurt other people. Promotes the idea that individuality should strengthen a relationship; having "a mind of your own" is better than abandoning personal likes and opinions to make someone else happy. 


Positive Role Models & Representations

Main characters are hard workers, good friends, tolerant of others, and generous. They learn important lessons about love, honesty, and self-awareness. Small-town life is depicted as idyllic, safe, and community-oriented. Big-city life is characterized by noise, shallow relationships, ambition, and materialism.


One punch is thrown.


Plenty of romantic kisses. Also: some responsibly sexually active adults.


Occasional swearing and insults: "virgin," "whore," "pain in the ass," "schmuck," "screwed-up," "a--hole," "hell," "one-eyed snake."


Some references in dialogue, others are visual: Budweiser, Michelob, USA TODAY, Busch, RCA, GQ Magazine, Redken, Pepsi, Fed-Ex, Everlast  boxing equipment, UTZ snacks, Kenra hair products, and some local New York shops and restaurants.


Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Social drinking in several settings: in a bar, restaurant, at a luau, at home, at a neighborhood baseball game. The father of the bride is revealed to be an alcoholic and shown with a drink in his hand on multiple occasions; at one time he is very drunk and needs his daughter's assistance before passing out in her car.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that the comedy Runaway Bride is fairy-tale light and will appeal to tweens and teens, as well as adults who like their romance on the fantasy side rather than dealing with real, flawed people and thorny situations. Even the trickiest problems are easily resolved, and, of course, everyone lives happily ever after. One punch is thrown; a character is an alcoholic (without the usual drama associated with that addiction); and there are a few off-color terms sprinkled throughout (such as "schmuck," "asshole," "pain in the ass"). There's little on-camera sexuality except for some romantic kissing and the implication that the characters are, and have been, sexually active. A few skimpy costumes are worn at a Hawaiian luau, and one T-shirt clearly reads: "Mountaineers do it against the wall." Lots of clear product placement.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent of a 10-year-old Written by1654monroe April 9, 2021
This movie was amazing! It has a great plot and the actors are incredible. It does contain some mature content though, the father of the main character, Maggie... Continue reading
Adult Written byCommonSenseChristian May 3, 2015

Slow Down and Enjoy This Flick With Older Kids

Maggie Carpenter has been married three times - well, almost. Before she can say "I do," she bolts down the aisle, leaving the groom at the altar and... Continue reading
Teen, 16 years old Written bySofia_Marie009 March 28, 2019

One of my favs!!

I love this movie!! My mother and I watched it and we cried and laughed and it was one of my favorite movies ever! A cute chick-flick for moms and daughters of... Continue reading
Kid, 10 years old July 22, 2010
Such a good movie! Sad that the woman always runs away though.

What's the story?

The stars and director of Pretty Woman reunited for this romantic comedy, which gets rolling when cynical USA Today columnist Ike Graham (Richard Gere) writes an irate column about Maggie Carpenter (Julia Roberts), a small-town woman who has left three grooms at the altar. When she writes the paper to point out 15 inaccuracies, he is fired by his editor and former wife (Rita Wilson). So, he goes to investigate Maggie, hoping to write a story about her that will vindicate him and restore his career. He's in luck -- Maggie is heading to the altar again, so he goes to her her quaint Maryland hometown, where the wedding will be, befriending the town folk and Maggies' father (Paul Dooley). At first he hopes she'll bolt again so he'll get a good story. But before long, he's hoping her plans fall through so he can be her next finace.

Is it any good?

When people say, "They don't make movies like that anymore," this is the kind of movie they mean. It is a fine tribute to those classic 1930s screwball romantic comedies. Roberts and Gere create real screen magic together. Gere displays a previously unsuspected light comic talent that is utterly disarming. Roberts just gets better and better; like the character she plays, she is learning to rise above her "excessively flirtatious energy."

The indispensable Joan Cusack plays Maggie's best friend, utterly supportive despite having to live through four different bridesmaid's dresses. And three cheers for adding a small but genuine dose of psychological insight to give a little bit of substance to the story. Both Ike and Maggie have to learn something about themselves before they can move forward together.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the importance of being a mature person yourself before you are capable of making a commitment to anyone else.

  • Hoe does Runaway Bride compare with other Julia Roberts movies you've seen?

  • How does this movie stack up against other romantic comedies?

Movie details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love romance and comedy

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