Pretty Woman (1990) from Tuna

Pretty Woman was a huge box office success and launched Julia Roberts' career, earning her a Best Actress nomination in the process. Somewhat like Titanic, it became fashionable to trash the film and Julia's performance. I enjoyed it the first time I saw it, but thought of it as light fluff. I also didn't see any exposure. Watching the director's cut DVD, I was doing so carefully and critically, and I now feel this is a very well made film, with a great performance from Roberts, a good job by Gere as a pretty dry character, and some excellent supporting performances. Not only that, but there are a few frames of one of Julia's breasts scene through the scrollwork of the bed she is in with Gere. The additional material in the directors cut should have been left in the original release. It was mainly background story, but made for better continuity.
The photography is very nice, although budget constraints caused them to use some stock footage, such as an airplane flying past a sunset. They had planned to actually use the San Francisco opera for the opera scene, but the Loma Prieta earthquake caused the building to be shut down, and they had to recreate the opera on a sound stage.


please refer to the main body of the review
In case some of you have just returned to this planet after a 12 year absence, Julia plays a Hollywood Blvd. hooker, and Gere is a New York millionaire in town to acquire a company, so he can break it up and sell the assets. Gere breaks up, calmly and efficiently, with his girlfriend by phone, borrows his lawyer's car (a Lotus), and gets lost trying to find his hotel. When he stops to ask Roberts for directions, she offers to sell them to him:

Roberts: I'll tell you for five bucks.
Gere: That's ridiculous.
Roberts: It just went up to ten bucks.
Gere: You can't charge for directions.
Roberts: I'm not the one who's lost.

She gets in the Lotus, goes back to Gere's hotel, and spends the night. Gere decides to hire her for a week, supposedly for something to wear on his arm, but also for the company, and because he is intrigued by Roberts. You can pretty much figure out the story from here.

DVD info from Amazon.

  • Widescreen letterboxed, 1.85:1. Good transfer.

  • Full-length director commentary by Garry Marshall

I had always thought of it as a generic Cinderella story, but it is more like a modern remake of Cinderella. Roberts, of course, is Cinderella, and Gere is prince charming. The fairy godmother is the hotel manager, played to perfection by Hector Elizondo, the evil step-sisters are two snotty Rodeo Drive clothing clerks, and the evil stepmother is Gere's lawyer. Oh, and the coach is the Lotus.

In addition to the clear breast shot, there is a lot of cleavage, see-through and poke-through by Roberts. In the commentary by director Garry Marshall, he mentions that Julia was so nervous doing the sex scene that she broke out in hives.

The Critics Vote

  • General consensus: three stars, plus. Ebert 3.5/4, Maltin 3/4,

The People Vote ...

  • With their votes ... IMDB summary: IMDb voters score it 6.5, good for a romantic comedy.
  • With their dollars ... it was a smash hit worldwide, grossing nearly $500 million dollars.
IMDb guideline: 7.5 usually indicates a level of excellence, about like three and a half stars from the critics. 6.0 usually indicates lukewarm watchability, about like two and a half stars from the critics. The fives are generally not worthwhile unless they are really your kind of material, about like two stars from the critics. Films under five are generally awful even if you like that kind of film, equivalent to about one and a half stars from the critics or less, depending on just how far below five the rating is.

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