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Pretty Woman (1990)
Pretty Woman is a 1990 romantic comedy film set in Los Angeles, California. Written by J.F. Lawton and directed by Garry Marshall, the film stars Richard Gere and Julia Roberts, and features Hector Elizondo, Ralph Bellamy, and Jason Alexander in supporting roles. The story of Pretty Woman centers on the down-on-her-luck Hollywood prostitute Vivian Ward who is hired by a wealthy businessman, Edward Lewis, to be his escort for several business and social functions, and their developing relationship over the course of Vivian's week-long stay with him. Originally intended to be a dark cautionary tale about class and prostitution in Los Angeles, this motion picture was reconceived as romantic comedy with a large budget. It was widely successful at the box office, and it became one of the highest money-makers of 1990. Today it is one of the most financially successful entries in the romantic comedy genre, with an estimated gross income of $463.4 million. Boxofficemojo lists it as the #1 romantic comedy by the highest estimated domestic tickets sold at 42,176,400, slightly ahead of My Big Fat Greek Wedding at 41,419,500 tickets.
You have a dapper, somewhat older wealthy man (Richard Gere), a surprisingly attractive prostitute (Julia Roberts), a toadie type (Jason Alexander) bent on breaking up the high roller and his lady of the night, and the kindly gent (Hector Elizondo) who teaches the trailer trash how to hang with the upper crust.
Pretty Woman is just as much a fairy tale as ever executed just perfectly enough to make your mouth water. It's candy for your brain.
It may be pure saccharine, not to mention totally unrealistic, but Pretty Woman does it with such style and grace you hardly notice its flaws. Gere and Roberts drip a dapper chemistry, Roberts oozes a saucy spunk, and Gere actually pulls off being both an effective lovesick pretty boy and a cutthroat quick-buck businessman who learns the value of the long-term investment. Elizondo plays the My Fair Lady game as solid as I've ever seen, and Alexander plays the soulless jerk as only he can.
With a great cast and a solid screenplay, the film has held the test of time and has finally become what all the lovesick teens said it was all along: a classic.