Runaway Bride (**) – Earlier this year I said that Julia Roberts should be committed to doing nothing but romantic comedies. After seeing Runaway Bride, I’ll amend that statement minorly by changing it to “good romantic comedies”. Choosing my second movie the other night was relegated to playing catch up from previous week’s releases that I had missed. Both Runaway Bride and Inspector Gadget were starting at the same time and I chose Bride due to the negative feedback I’d heard and frankly, I was in the mood for something a little more on the adult side. Looks like I made the wrong choice.Beware a movie that has to consistently remind its audience why they came to see it in the first place. And if you’re not sure what I mean by that - let me count the ways. (1) There’s a haggle for money with price quotes ending with Richard Gere agreeing by saying “Done”. (2) Gere gets a clothing store worker to give Julia whatever she requires no matter what the cost is. (3) Gere loses control of a hammer while eating seafood (Must have been a slippery little sucker) (4) Gere has trouble driving a car while Julia knows exactly what the problem is. It’s like they’re doing an homage to Pretty Woman while holding up signs and screaming to the audience. Hey – dumb asses – don’t you remember? We were the team that made Pretty Woman. I’m all for family reunions in the movies (I loved Fierce Creatures, the Fish Called Wanda reunion) – but while Runaway Bride got back the two stars, a lot of supporting players, and its director, it left the script home alone and while it’s no doubt getting’ beaten by a drunken fire-setting Macaulay Culkin, it can’t get much worse. For the first half hour of this film, I sat there straight-faced. Not a single laugh or chuckle. Not even a smile. I was dumbfounded. And when I’m dumbfounded, much in the style of Mystery Science Theater 3000 (a moment of silence for its upcoming passing), I start coming up with witty repartee to put in my review to keep myself awake. For a while, my only attention was focused on the film’s soundtrack which seemed to be bringing back classic 80’s music more frequently than The Wedding Singer, opening its titles with U2’s I Still Haven’t Found What I’ve Been Looking For and following Gere’s quest for the Runaway Bride with the Hall and Oates tune, Maneater. Subtle. Almost nothing was working for me in this movie and even Garry Marshall can be counted on for a few decent laughs early on before he waves the sentimental wand. There was nothing going on here – practically screaming out for the 1 ½ star rating I was waiting to deliver – but I found a few nuggets to cling onto during its final 30 minutes, which is a long time coming. Julia Roberts does actually deliver a fine performance of this thinly written character. Richard Gere well is Richard Gere. And for my money he can’t match Hugh Grant in Notting Hill anymore than Grant could take Gere’s place in An Officer and a Gentleman. Hector Elizondo has some welcome moments late in the proceedings and gets the film’s best line late in the film. Too late in the film and too bad. A movie like Runaway Bride makes me think I should have given Notting Hill 3 ½ stars despite some of the quibbles I had late in the film, quibbles which seem minor compared to a travesty like this. Pretty Woman I never felt was a great film, but I did enjoy it very much and thought it was one of Gere’s few good performances.Julia has continued to do romantic comedies and two of her best movies period – the aforementioned Notting Hill and My Best Friend’s Wedding, which actually made my Ten Best List in 1997. The people involved with Runaway Bride should rent those two films, along with Pretty Woman, and realize why Runaway Bride doesn’t work.