by Chris Parry
The 90's was a sad decade for humanity. While citizens of the former Yugoslavia were engaging in genocide and torture, we were out in Kuwait defending our right to fill the SUV. When kids were shooting each other in schools, we put metal detectors at the school door rather than ban the guns. And when Julia Roberts played a prostitute and Richard Gere fell in love with that prostitute, we all went "aaaaaw, she has a funny laugh, isn't she sweet?" Clearly the apocalypse couldn't be far off as young girls around America emptied from schools and took to the street-corners in tribute of their new hero - a hooker that gets to marry the rich guy and buy stuff.So yeah. Julia gives blowjobs for bucks. She wears slutty clothes and a bad blonde wig and handles the genitals of middle-aged men that can't get any without saving up for it. Meanwhile, Richard is rich (delicious!) and, in a Hugh Grant-like fit of unexplainable behavior, decides he wants a little skanky street-tang. Slutty Skanky Julia, meet Sleazy Rich Dick.
"Prostitute goes shopping."
And that's pretty much the whole story. Oh sure, we see Julia's softer side (no, not her ass, her human side) and every time she gives her big teeth laugh and puts those snotty rich people in their place, we feel closer and closer to her, but let's get a little something straight people... SHE'S A HOOKER!
She gives blowjobs for money. Why? To put herself through medical school? To pay for a crack habit? No, apparently Julia gives blowjobs for money because it eventually leads to a sophisticated businessman deciding to play My Fair Lady with her, buy her a few hundred grand worth of Rodeo Drive-wear, and eventually ask her to be Mrs Rich Bastard.
Yeah, yeah, I can hear middle America rushing to defend Julia as I type this. Yes, I understand it's a romantic comedy, but when did the words "romantic" and "hooker" ever exist in the same sentence? Let's face it, if your little brother Earl came home with a spandex-wearing girl who calls herself Telulah and boasts that she can make "phat green" on the corner of Main and 22nd, you're kicking little bro in the nuts and calling the cops on Miss Thang. You don't care if she has a heart of gold, nor do you care if she has a "sassy attitude", she's a whore, and she better start walking and not touch the silverware on her way out.
That is, unless she's Julia Roberts. If she's Julia Roberts, she could blow six junkies on your porch, eat some acid with your little sister, piss on your grandmother's roses and set fire to your underwear drawer... but it's okay, she's Julia Roberts.
And this is where Garry Marshall always gets it wrong. He creates storylines that make no sense, in any way shape or form, where we're supposed to empathize and sympathize with his leads even though they're the most dire, unsympathetic bastards that you'd normally throw rocks at, but then he saves the day by casting Julia Roberts.
See, no matter what, everyone loves Julia. It basically comes down to half the audience wanting to see her naked and the other half wanting to be her. I admit, I'd buy a ticket to see her naked. But only at matinee prices.
Richard Gere, throughout this entire film, has a look on his face that I NEED to wipe off. The smug bastard knows he's got half the dimwitted women of America wet and you can see it in every damn scene. He's thinking, "Yeah, I'm hot." I wish him death by snugly-placed guppy.
But let's not forget the one thing that can save this movie from a hundred years of audience vomiting. Pretty Woman co-stars... get ready to laugh... Jason Alexander! Dude! It's Costanza! Funny! Comedy! Hilarity!
Hardly.Look, I can stick my head in neutral as well as anyone and just zone out during a harmless rom-com, but when my intelligence is disregarded, nay insulted, I take offence. Julia Roberts, deep down in her heart and soul, knows that she glamorized the job of whore to a generation of young women. She got her thirty pieces of silver so she's probably pretty happy with the result, but for those of us who are prone to question things that don't seem right, we simply blink, look to those watching with us and say,
"Okay, what, am I supposed to cheer for the hooker because her John bought her a Mink? Pass the beer nuts."
link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=2378&reviewer=1
originally posted: 06/26/02 20:54:15