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STUDIO: Buena Vista Home Entertainment
RUNNING TIME: 125 Minutes
• Blooper Reel
• "Live From The Wrap Party"
• "LA: The Pretty Woman Tour"
• All-New Commentary from director Garry Marshall
• 1990 Featurette
• Natalie Cole Music Video
I’ve covered chick flicks for this site (Beaches, Bridget Jones 2). And I’ve covered double dips (Gothika, Gone in 60 Seconds). So I have little desire to go back into how both can be loathsome to the average guy, for very different reasons of course. In case you’re wondering, Pretty Woman is right at – if not sitting on – the top of the pile of chick flicks and this 15th Anniversary Special Edition is actually the third separate offering of the film on DVD, fourth if you count the initial VHS. Whoopee. For the record and to get it out of the way, I actually like this film quite a bit. Roberts is luminous in it and I’ve seldom seen a better star-making turns to come out of the Hollywood crap machine. Gere is also quite good and the two had a fantastic chemistry that turned this film into a monster hit back in 1990. The story is entertaining, Hector Elizondo is good as usual and Pretty Woman is probably director Garry Marshall’s best film. So now you’re probably wondering what there’s left to do in this review now that I’ve covered most of the bases in the opening paragraph. Guess what? Me too.
Wait, you got WHAT stuck WHERE??!!!
First of all, there’s usually a summation of the plot involved in one of these, so let me handle that real quick:
Roberts plays Vivian, a hooker with a heart of gold living in the big bad City of Angels, where dreams are crushed like a failed project in Monster Garage and the people are as fake as their noses and surgically-corrected tummies. Along with her roommate and fellow streetwalker, Kit (Laura San Giacomo), they have to deal with making the rent and keeping the local pimp off their backs. Vivian is then thrown for a loop when she meets Edward (Gere), a ridiculously rich yet melancholy corporate raider who’s in town to rip another company to shreds and sell the pieces in order to become even more ridiculously rich and probably end up even more melancholy. When Edward pulls up on the Hollywood strip and asks her for directions to his hotel, she ends up insinuating herself into his car for 20 bucks and shows him personally.
Few people have come to epitomize the Buddhist philosophy of giving up worldly possessions like Richard Gere…
From there, Gere invites her back up into his penthouse suite – which he can’t truly enjoy because he’s afraid of heights by the way – and after some getting-to-know-you banter, he rents her for the night and they soon make with the ugly bumping to an episode of I Love Lucy. Circumstances then arise where Edward, who’s going to be in town for the week and needing a female companion for various business functions, yet not desiring any romantic hassles, makes a deal with Vivian to be his “beck-and-call-girl” for the duration of his stay. He gives her free reign with his hotel room while he conducts business and showers her with clothes and merchandise so she can look presentable. It’s not long before Vivian starts to get it in her head that in Edward she’s found the answer to her dreams of meeting Mr. Right and getting off the street. Her relationship with Edward steadily builds, although Edward is determined that this is strictly business (with fringe benefits) and will be over in six days. Helping Vivian in a few times of need is Garry Marshall veteran Hector Elizondo as Edward’s hotel concierge, Barney. With his help, and Edward’s no-limit credit card, Vivian is soon transformed from a lady of the night into a lady about town.
It was all fun and games until the point when Vivian was about to discover why Constantine really wanted her to take a bath…
Vivian and Edward’s adventures take them everywhere from a shopping spree for Vivian, where they spend “an obscene amount of money,” to dinner with the head of the business that Edward is going to take over, to a polo match for the LA well-to-dos, to the opera in San Francisco, with a stopover for some naughtiness on top of a grand piano in the hotel lounge. Vivian’s low rent mannerisms clash amusingly with Edward’s high rent lifestyle and along the way, Edward begins to have second thoughts about his corporate shark lifestyle and Vivian falls in love with him. Edward’s emerging change of heart doesn’t sit well with his partner, Philip (Jason Alexander) and when he finds out that Edward’s mystery companion is in fact a hooker, he’s stunned. Meanwhile, Vivian and Edward’s association isn’t always a smooth one as their notions of where their relationship is going to end differ quite a bit. It boils over into a tiff where Vivian is going to leave and demands her money on the spot. Edward gives it to her but is shocked when she leaves it out of principle. They ultimately make up and their tenuous arrangement continues, although Edward is aware that there’s more on the line than the $3,000 he’s paying her.
Man, do I love Beethoven…
Eventually, Vivian’s influence on Edward culminates in his decision not to destroy the company he’s there for, but in fact to go into partnership with the owner and continue on in business. This means the blowing of a billion-dollar deal and an upset Philip. He confronts Vivian in a nasty altercation that Edward has to save her from and ends up with the end of his partnership with Philip. The resolution of his affiliation with Vivian isn’t as straightforward, but considering that this is a love story, the ending is never really in doubt.
Now that that’s taken care of, I’ll just move right on to the score:
8.0 out of 10
Included for those of you out there dying to see some Gere flesh…
One of the really really really cool things on this 15th
Anniversary edition is that they’ve got a new main menu that features
a Rodeo Drive window shopping motif… Other than that the film does look good. This is the movie that made Roberts a star and she’s never looked sexier, not even with her Wonderbra cans in Erin Brockovich. Gere was also still at the height of his attractiveness and it’s easy to see why people enjoy looking at these two together so much. The transfer is also good.
8.7 out of 10
"Okay I got this great idea for a follow up movie. I play a bride-to-be who keeps taking off on her fiancees right when the wedding ceremony is about to start."
"A Runaway Bride? Come on! That could never happen…"
Another aspect that propelled this film to megahit status was the uplifting soundtrack featuring hit songs from then-red-hot Roxette (It Must Have Been Love), Natalie Cole (Wild Women Do) and the titular theme song from the then-recently-cold Roy Orbison. And it all sounds fine it Dolby Digital.
8.4 out of 10
Considering that this is the 5 millionth offering of this film, one would expect something new on here that was different than say, the 10th Anniversary edition. Well, first off, there’s a new commentary by director Garry Marshall. Basically he repeats much of what he said five years ago, but makes mention of his new grandchildren and Roberts’ twins (Phineas and Hazel if anyone cares). But Roberts and Gere still haven’t done a commentary track for this yet and it’s definitely something that’s missing from any kind of definitive offering of this film.
No one was more surprised than Alexander at the upscale nature of a Seinfeld Con…"
There’s also another feature: LA: The Pretty Woman Tour, that features an interactive menu of Tinseltown and short introductions by Marshall of the locations that were used during the film shoot.
Live: From the Wrap Party: A four minute, grainy-as-hell video shot from the wrap party where Gere plays piano and Roberts joins in a bit of singing. Swell.
2 ½ minute Blooper Reel.
There’s also the 1990 Production Featurette that was also on the 10th Anniversary edition. It’s barely longer than the blooper reel.
Natalie Cole music video: Wild Women Do
And contrary to what it says on Amazon, there’s no cast reunion interview. So that’s a nice little bit of false advertising for you. But perhaps the most special feature of this offering is that, unlike the 10th Anniversary Edition, this one wasn’t edited for content. I hadn’t watched my 10th edition in a long time and I was shocked that they did that back then. Bottom line, they stuck a few little extra features on this disc that definitely aren’t worth another 20 bucks. But if you don’t have a version of the movie yet, this would be the one to get.
6.0 out of 10
On a completely unrelated note, it took me ten friggin’ hours in San Andreas flight school before I could finally fly this thing.
Uh, they took the original artwork and cropped it. That’s worth the extra trip to Best Buy in itself.
1.6 out of 10