Tuesday, November 29, 2011

819. Pretty Woman (1990)

Running Time: 119 minutes
Directed By:
Garry Marshall
Written By: J.F. Lawton
Main Cast: Richard Gere, Julia Roberts, Ralph Bellamy, Jason Alexander, Laura San Giacomo
Click here to view the trailer


Tonight, once again, I let my wife do the picking for us and upon her return from the DVD shelf, she wielded a copy of "Pretty Woman". It's the movie that turned Julia Roberts into a mega star and me into a swallower of pure Hollywood entertainment.

Edward Lewis (Gere) is in Los Angeles on a business venture, as he looks to purchase the company of an aging businessman. Lewis has a reputation for being able to woo the ladies, but an even stronger reputation for not being able to hold onto them, as business always interferes with his pleasure. Vivian (Roberts) is a street smart prostitute who needs money. One evening, when Lewis is lost on Hollywood Boulevard he pays Vivian $20 to give him directions to Beverly Hills. Hopping into the car with him and even taking over the driver's seat, it doesn't take long for Vivian to win Edward's interests. When Edward invites Vivian up to his room, one thing leads to another and Edward spends $300 to purchase Vivian's services for the entire night. Except, Edward doesn't want what Vivian's normal customers usually want and it seems the only turn on Edward is concerned with is companionship. The next day, Edward makes an even heftier proposition - $3000 if Vivian will spend the week with him. She accepts, being whisked into a world that could only be feasible in fairy tales and quickly falling in love with her gentlemanly benefactor.

You know, I might get some flack for this, but I really enjoyed myself with this one. It's a movie that allowed me to kick back, relax and just have a good time at the movies. "Pretty Woman" (I think intentionally) reminded me of some of the earlier, screwball comedies that I watched for this journey. In fact, I couldn't help but be reminded of "My Man Godfrey" - the story of a bum who is brought into a wealthy residence to be their housekeeper - a favorite of mine, if you'll remember. I also kept getting flashes of Cary Grant and all the vixens he wooed on the big screen. All of the classic "date movie" elements are intact. Women can sit back and be envious of the Vivian character, wondering when their Prince Charming is going to come and carry them off to the Regent Beverly Wilshire. Men can gawk at the sexy Julia Roberts (and she's never been sexier, not before, not after) and slowly, but surely even the most brutish of male may succumb to the sappiness of this Hollywood romp. You also have key moments and more than a handful of quotable lines ("In case I forget to tell you later, I had a really good time tonight" says Vivian before the evening begins).

It's one that is going to have a lot of fans and one that the film snobs are going to tear to shreds, more than likely calling it "too cliche". For me, it's the cliches that make it work, the fact that it's a modern fairy tale, being told with real characters and even adding in a bit of spice to give it that extra kick (the scene where Roberts and Gere make love on the piano is pretty steamy and hey, even Julia's breast makes a cameo at another spot in the picture). However, this film aficionado is going the positive route and imploring everyone to, at least, give this one a try. It may not be your cup of tea, you may be more into foreign art films or backyard indy pictures, but give this one a shot. Open up your mind and let your softer side run rampant for a couple of hours and you may even surprise yourself. You may have a hell of a time!

RATING: 8/10 Man, I really didn't even write why I liked it did I? Or did I? Who the hell knows. I just know that I DID like it. That's enough for me.

Note: Someone sent me an e-mail, asking me to plug an article that they wrote entitled "The 10 Greatest Movie Villains of All-Time". Click here to check it out.

November 28, 2011 11:21pm


  1. Errrrr...
    Good try, VERY good try. You had me for a moment there. Pretty Woman as a modern MMG?. Well, as ever your well written comments did make me stop and think for a while.
    OK, and I've stopped and thinked again.
    Sorry, no, I will beg to differ (I bet you are shocked?)This is a paeon to wealth and consumption. All hail money and designer shopping. Life is, or will be, fine if you are as rich as the Edward character, or you are as glamourous as julia Roberts. And sure, having to be a Hollywood Hooker is actualy quite fun as you get to.. meet.... such lovely people who will whisk you away to a dream land of endless charge accounts.

    OK, Ok, I'm ranting again arn't I? I'm taking this far to seriously.. this is fluffy escapism, not social comment. Sorry.

  2. i Love it when i watch a movie, and i like it, and i have absolutely no idea why

  3. Ray - Thanks for the comment. The fact that I even got you to rethink a film that is obviously not up your alley, is a compliment. I realize it's pure fluff, churned out of the Hollywood machine, but one out of ten times those work for me.

    Lowes48 - Thanks for the comment. Much appreciated!


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