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Pretty Woman

1990 romantic comedy film starring Julia Roberts and Richard Gere

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The most dishonest film ever made?

  • Nov 17, 2009
  • by
Ok, I'm going to get a little worked up on this one - I know I'm usually all Carmax and Google-loving, but I just caught an hour of this on TV last night and have been in a bad mood ever since. This shallow piece of dishonesty grossed over a half billion dollars, just so you know.

If I was female, I would detest this film even more than I do after six cups of coffee this morning. Given the number of women in the world, Hollywood would have us believe that they generally fall into the following categories:
  • Man-eating bitch on wheels: works in a corporation, powerful, mean, will eat you for breakfast and not even leave leftovers for lunch.
  • Clueless bimbo, likely blonde. Like, whatever.
  • Ugly duckling: a nerd with bad hair and awful glasses who mysteriously turns into Miss America when the specs come off and a little styling is applied.
  • Cheerleader: principally from lazy TV writing or pandering to demographics, we're led to believe that the average girl's only desire in life is to wave pom-poms.
  • Prostitute - I'm presuming that <0.0001% of all women are, you know, hookers - but they represent around 5% of all female roles on celluloid. And they're always quite attractive too.
Anyway, so in a Disney-esque way, Pretty Woman is of course about the diamond in the rough who is prostituting (sp?) in LA as kind of a summer job until something better comes along. Originally a dark tale about prostitution and drug addiction (with the motivation of being clean for a week to get the money to go to Disneyland, seriously), the studio cleaned it up. There are some cut scenes where Julia Roberts is chased by drug dealers, but in the theater release all her drug problems were parceled off to her wisecracking friend, Kit. In the meantime, she flosses, euphemistically 'uses protection', has montages and grins like a Cheshire cat with a heart of gold.

The other great stereotype which gets my blood boiling is Richard Gere as the disenchanted investment banker (with a heart of gold). He learns to work with Grandpa-like Ralph Bellamy, presumably as a pseudo-father figure, to stop breaking up companies (read: being selfish) and start building things (read: have children).

The problem with this is two-fold:
  • I used to work on Wall Street and I know investment bankers. They're not nice people. They'd rather carve up a firm, cash in the pension fund and set fire to the Easter bunny than put jobs ahead of profit. They might even throw in some child labor to sweeten the deal. Seriously, you won't find more soulless individuals. In real life, they were busy tranching out subprime mortgages to the poor as AAA investments to state pension funds, remember?
  • He suspects "Vivian" of doing drugs in his bathroom and tries to throw her out. This never happens! in the 80s and 90s, many of these guys were snorting so much Coke that they'd disappear if it snowed. More likely, he would have demanded a straw.
Ok, ok I know many of you probably loved this film when it came out and think I'm the sort of person who would trash Bambi. But you probably should check it out again to see how poorly it's aged and just how dishonest it is. I haven't even mentioned the annoyance of Gere not being able to drive a Ferrari in stick (hint: they don't make 'em in auto). Good God.

Ok, rant over.

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December 16, 2009
YES, YES, YES!!! I've always hated this movie! They even changed the ending because it tested badly with trial audienecs. In the original he didn't come back and take her away to his castle on the hill and people didn't like it so they changed it. What a load of shit! Sure the rich investment banker (with the heart of gold) is also going to marry the hooker! Feed that shit to your preteenage daughter and you deserve what you're gonna get. Bravo!
December 17, 2009
Thanks! I couldn't agree more...
December 18, 2009
I'm thrilled to finally see someone else who feels the same way about this film. It gives young girls the wrong ideas about life life.
November 17, 2009
Thanks! YES! D in D... missed that one. Btw I was forced to watch Dirty Dancing the other night which is not only much better but actually aged relatively well... :-D
November 17, 2009
What about the damsel in distress? :P  There's a reason this movie didn't make it on my Chick Flicks list.  Though I don't hate it, I've never understood why people still love it so much after all these years, and I never even thought about the glamorizing prostitution part, just as a movie in general.  Thanks for your amusing insights on this :)
More Pretty Woman reviews
Quick Tip by . November 27, 2009
Its ok, my 78 yo grandmothers favourite film of all time followed a close second by breakfast at tiffanys!
review by . October 11, 2008
Pros: Roberts, Gere, Elizondo     Cons: ...     The Bottom Line:   "Nine a.m. on the hour hand   and she's waiting for the bell   and she's looking real pretty   just wait for her clientele"   ~Donna Summer         Released in 1990, Pretty Woman couldn't have picked a better time for Richard Gere and Julia Roberts to join forces for a weird take on Cinderella. They were …
review by . December 22, 2003
Pros: fun, escapist, Julia Roberts     Cons: such a bad message!     The Bottom Line: Look how fun it is to be a hooker!     Plot Details: This opinion reveals major details about the movie''s plot. It's down to me    The way she talks when she's spoken to    Down to me, the change has come   She's under my thumb - The Rolling Stones      I’m not a raging feminist. In fact, I like “Under …
review by . January 23, 2000
Pros: Sweet, funny movie     Cons: minor violence     Can a prostitute have ethics? Can a lawyer?      In Pretty Woman they can, or they can learn to. Julia Roberts plays a good hearted prostitute with a childlike sense of delight. She warms the heart of Richard Gere, a stuffy hard-hearted corporate shark.       Roberts' transformation from streetwalker to lovely lady is fun and delightful to watch. The hotel manager, …
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James Beswick ()
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About this movie


Pretty Woman is a 1990 American romantic comedy film. Written by J.F. Lawton and directed by Garry Marshall, the film features Richard Gere, Julia Roberts and Hector Elizondo. Pretty Woman's plot centers on 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 drama about prostitution in New York, the film was reconceptualized into a romantic comedy with a broader budget. The film was a critical success and became one of 1990's highest grossing films, and today is one of the most financially successful entries in the romantic comedy genre, with an estimated gross of $464 million USD.Roberts received a Golden Globe Award for her role, and received a nomination for an Academy Award, in addition screenwriter J.F. Lawton was nominated for a Writers Guild Award and a BAFTA Award.

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