Reviewed by Doug Cooper
Stars Richard Gere, Julia Roberts, Jason Alexander, Hector Elizondo, Ralph Bellamy, Alex Hyde-White, Laura San Giacomo, Larry Miller, Amy Yasbeck, Elinor Donahue
Written by JF Lawton
Certification UK 15 | US R
Runtime 119 minutes
Directed by Garry Marshall
Park Circus is re-releasing this classic in selected to cinemas to coincide with Valentine's Day (the date, not the humdrum movie) and also to mark its 20th anniversary. Yep, it was 20 years ago that this was first shown in cinemas. Hasn't time flown?
You either love it or loathe it and I'm firmly in the former category. Of course, it completely lacks credibilty and some will complain about it glorifying prostitution, but it's not meant to be taken seriously. It's a fantasy and a gloriously charming one at that – thanks to the dazzling Roberts who radiates effervescence as the vulnerable but good hearted Vivian, paid to spend a week with rich businessman Gere at the Beverly Wiltshire Hotel. This role made her a global mega-star and she is terrific – funny, warm, determined and affectionate.
Gere is a perfect foil for her, subtly and commendably bowing to her outgoing talents while bringing a degree of gravitas to the proceedings. He's not a comedian and he doesn't try to be, but is still very likeable and the two of them have great chemistry together. The supporting cast deliver too. Alexander is excellent as Gere's sleazy lawyer and Elizondo is a wonderfully subtle concierge. It's also great to see evergreen old timer Ralph Bellamy, here playing a business opponent of Gere's. He exemplifies Hollywood's golden age and it's good to be reminded of that fact.
So does it stand up after 20 years? Most resoundingly yes. All the elements jell perfectly - it's bright, sophisticated and amusing and the romance that develops between the two lead characters warms one's heart. This is a far better proposition than Valentine's Day, Marshall's latest mediocre effort. Pretty Woman is a wonderful movie, my favourite film of 1990 and a treat to see again in 2010. Marvellous.