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Vivian (Julia Roberts) is a street-walking Hollywood Boulevard hooker struggling to make ends meet. Edward Lewis (Richard Gere), a shrewd millionaire businessman, pulls over and asks her for directions to his swanky Beverly Hills hotel. One thing leads to another, and a one-night stand for $300 turns into a week-long $3,000 business proposal for Vivian to be his personal escort. With the help of benevolent hotel manager Barney (Hector Elizondo), Vivian is transformed into an elegant, refined, ravishing beauty, and through her, Edward sees the error of his ways, questioning his morals over a ruthless business deal set up by his lawyer (Jason Alexander).

Review by Shannon J. Harvey:
Arguably the best modern-day Cinderella story still going around, this 1990 cinematic classic has become a benchmark by which many romantic comedies are measured. It's a classic in its own right, known at least for making mega-stars of Julie Roberts (in her jaw-dropping debut) and Richard Gere (who riffs on his own Lothario persona). Sweet without being sickeningly sentimental, Pretty Woman is stylishly directed by Garry Marshall, with decadent LA locations, stunning costumes, and a catchy soundtrack. The scene where Roberts goes shopping on Rodeo Drive is a hoot. Most of all, Pretty Woman has become synonymous with Roberts, who embodies all those Cinderella qualities and cemented herself as a bona-fide silver screen beauty.

There's been plenty said about what was left on the cutting room floor in 1990, and the film has been criticised for making Roberts the most gratuitous "hooker with a heart of gold" in cinematic history. Most of all, for a hooker hired for seven nights of sin, we hardly see a skerrick of skin onscreen. The release of this Director's Cut, therefore, promises to finally unveil what has been hidden for 13 years. But anyone looking for that extra special insight might be left in the dark. What Marshall has essentially delivered is about 7 minutes of previously unseen footage, and only a few seconds of it are spent on any steamy seduction scenes. I must admit, however, that Julia does look good draped over a grand piano. Not to mention wearing lacy black undies.

The extra footage also extends the film in meaningful ways. We mostly get an insight into Gere's life; his business dealings that cause him to wander the night in the opening scenes. The only re-instated scene that jars is when Roberts takes him back to her old street haunt and he disarms a street gang by talking tough. Apart from the extended scenes, there's a glossy Production Featurette, where Marshall, Gere and a big-haired Roberts talk briefly about the film. It's fluffy stuff, and it's a shame one of the biggest blockbusters of the 90s wasn't given a more fitting tribute. Besides the trailer, the only other feature included is the Wild Women Do video clip, a tribute to early 90s fashion in itself.

There's nothing that special about this secondary release, and anyone who already owns the original disc needn't bother purchasing this one. But for those who just adore this most ultimate of chick flicks, your DVD collection wouldn't be complete without it. After all, it's fun to relieve the magic on those rainy, lonely nights. This Director's Cut may not be a full-on DVD makeover, but then again, it's hard to improve upon perfection.

Published April 24, 2003

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(US) - 1990

CAST: Richard Gere, Julia Roberts, Ralph Bellamy, Hector Elizondo, Larry Miller, Laura San Giacomo, Jason Alexander.

DIRECTOR: Garry Marshall

RUNNING TIME: 120 minutes

PRESENTATION: 1:85:1 widescreen, Dolby Digital 5.1

SPECIAL FEATURES: All-New Bonus Footage, Theatrical Trailer, Behind the Scenes Featurette, 'Wild Women Do' Music Video.


DVD RELEASE: April 9, 2003

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