A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
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.
- Parents say
- Kids say
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 ...
- In theaters: July 30, 1999
- On DVD or streaming: January 25, 2000
- Cast: Joan Cusack, Julia Roberts, Richard Gere
- Director: Garry Marshall
- Studio: Paramount Pictures
- Genre: Comedy
- Run time: 116 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG
- MPAA explanation: language and some suggestive dialogue
- Last updated: September 21, 2019
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