By Dan Skip Allen
The romantic comedy is a genre that is going the way of the dodo bird. We rarely get a great romantic comedy anymore. There are occasional films such as The Big Sick, Bridesmaids, and (500) Days of Summer that impress every so often. It is not like in the '90s though, when a lot of very good, if not great, romantic comedies came out. My Best Friend's Wedding, Notting Hill, You've Got Mail, Sleepless in Seattle, and There's Something About Mary are among the best the genre has to offer. That said, arguably the best of the '90s, and maybe even the best ever is Pretty Woman starring Richard Gere & Julia Roberts and directed by Garry Marshall.
Edward (Richard Gere) is driving around L.A. trying to find Beverly Hills. He stops to ask for directions from a couple of prostitutes on the street and Vivian (Julia Roberts) saunters on over to him. Edward gets her to come for a ride with him around L.A. and then convinces her to come up to his nice fancy hotel with him, but once she's there, he doesn't know what to do with her. The penthouse suite is a little much for her. They start off the night with a little champagne and strawberries.
Julia Roberts broke out in the '80s with Mystic Pizza and Steel Magnolia soon after that, but her biggest hit was Pretty Woman. Does this story of a down-and-out prostitute who was swept off of her feet by a rich businessman sound familiar? It's essentially the story of Cinderella: a poor house girl who gets to go to a ball and meet a prince. Edward is the Prince in this story. Pretty Woman is Garry Marshall's version of that magical tale.
Richard Gere broke out in 1980 with his steamy film American Gigolo. Ironically he portrays a male prostitute in that film. An Officer and a Gentleman came out soon afterward and launched him into the stratosphere. That said, Pretty Woman would become the film he is most known for. He has a reputation for playing a ladies man. He is by all extents and purposes a good looking man. He plays that role perfectly in numerous films. Richard has this quality about himself that makes him perfect casting for these types of roles.
Pretty Woman is a film that hits me in the feels every time, even 30 years later. It has an everyman quality to it. It's a story that everyone can believe in. Along with the two stars, this film has some fantastic co-stars including Jason Alexander, Laura San Giacomo, and the standout, Hector Elizondo. They all play their part in this wonderful feel-good story.
There is a beauty and simple feeling to this film that I just love. It makes me feel like a person who has nothing might be able to find true love accidentally like this. Nobody wants to be poor and struggle every day like Vivian, and sometimes a Prince Charming like Edward can swoop in and sweep a girl off of her feet. It truly is a Cinderella story. I guess I'm a softy at heart because I still believe in love. Maybe the rich guy can learn something from the poor girl and vice versa. Pretty Woman is an iconic film that will live on and on.
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The Snake Hole
Retrospectives, opinion pieces, awards commentary, personal essays, and any other type of article that isn't a traditional review or interview.