When a millionaire wheeler-dealer enters a business contract with a Hollywood hooker Vivian Ward, he loses his heart in the bargain.
A street credibility Pygmallion!
Edward Lewis is a very rich man, but money, as everyone knows, does not buy everything, and as yet another failed relationship falls by the wayside, Edward faces up to the prospect of a hectic social week on his own. Enter a meeting with ebullient hooker Vivian Ward, who upon impressing Edward with her happy go lucky values, gets herself hired to be his escort for the week ahead, it's a week that both of them are unlikely to ever forget.
It almost became the in thing to stomp all over the respective work of both Richard Gere (Edward) and Julia Roberts (Vivian), adding fuel to the fire of those with an aversion to both actors is that the crowd pleasing Pretty Woman hails from that dreaded genre known as 1980s Rom-Com. Seemingly many can now not see just what made Pretty Woman so popular back in 1990. Gary Marshall's film was the fourth highest box office taker in 1990, grossing a domestic $178,406,268, and at the same time made the date movie hip again, so basically all you Pretty Woman haters can take both those facts to the bank!
As the opening credits emerge, Peter Cox (lead singer of pop band Go West) starts warbling about "The King Of Wishful Thinking", and never was a more appropriate song used to open such a genre piece before or since, and this is the key issue with Pretty Woman. Yes, the whole structure and plot devices are all fanciful splendour, I mean does anyone seriously think that hookers look and act like Julia Roberts? But really if you are entering this picture expecting anything other than a modern "My Fair Lady" like fairytale then the blinkers need to be well and truly taken off. It's also a point of worth to say that Pretty Woman has something to say outside of the main intention to lift hearts and make one smile, Marshall, aided by his screenwriter J.F. Lawton, tie in smartly the fact that Edward is as much a hustler as Vivian is, only difference being that Edward is incredibly wealthy and has therefore grown in public stature.
Both Roberts and Gere have brilliant chemistry, so it was no surprise to see they would work together again in 1999 on "Runaway Bride", and both actors are helped immeasurably by splendid support from Hector Elizondo as the hotel manager, Barney Thompson. The picture is laced with joyous moments that hark back to the golden days of screwy comedies laced with unlikely romances, and this was something that clearly struck a chord with cinema goers back on the film's original release. Yes it's a touch over sweet at times, and yes the ending is never really in doubt, but if you are prepared to invest some fluffy chilled out time with Pretty Woman then you can see and feel just why it was the big hit it was back at the start of the 90s. 8/10
Touchstone Pictures, Silver Screen Partners IV by Garry Marshall, J.F. Lawton.
Stars: Richard Gere, Julia Roberts, Jason Alexander, Laura San Giacomo.
Genres: Comedy, Romance
Keywords: prostitute capitalism expensive restaurant sports car workaholic fire escape friendship los angeles beverly hills piano bubble bath
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