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Maggie Carpenter's (Julia Roberts) sexually liberated grandmother thinks it's fear of the wedding night that made her granddaughter run from three grooms, but Maggie assures her that's not the problem. What Grandma can't see is Maggie's perpetual indecisiveness. Could that be what prohibits her from making a commitment to anyone or anything in her life?
Meanwhile in New York City, USA Today columnist Ike Graham (Richard Gere) is delighted to discover Maggie's story after meeting an acquaintance of hers in his favorite bar. A few sketchy facts and a couple of drinks later, Ike puts Maggie's story to the national press, and for some reason is surprised when Maggie sends a scathing letter a few days later. Maggie's complaints of misrepresentation cost Ike his job, leaving him with lots of spare time. So he hops into his convertible and heads for the postcard community of Hale Maryland, where Maggie lives. Rumor has it she is about to try the wedding thing again, and if she flees this time, Ike may be able to salvage his career.
Just seeing the poster for this film will tell you that Maggie is about to run off with more than Ike's pride. While the love story may be superficial and comedic, there are some deeper and more intricate characters included than those usually found in this type of film. Consider the scene where Maggie realizes her need for acceptance has resulted in her habitually flirtatious nature, the tender forgiveness offered from a former fiance, or the examples of unconditional love extended from her best friend. Unfortunately, Grandma's crude comments and Dad's dependence on alcohol weave their way in between such scenes.
There was a time in the movies when "happily ever after" meant marriage. Over the years Hollywood's attitude has changed towards this institution making it akin to a jail sentence. Although Maggie is sexually experienced, it was nice to find a film courageous enough to depict marriage in a positive light. Perhaps if we saw more old fashioned love stories, our society would have fewer runaway brides (and grooms).
Runaway Bride is rated PG: for language and some suggestive dialogue.
Cast: Julia Roberts, Richard Gere
Studio: 1999 Paramount & Touchstone Pictures