Written by Sarah Kendall

Arts

Rated or Dated: Pretty Woman

Standard Issue writers are revisiting a film/book/TV series to see if it’s stood the test of time. Will Pretty Woman’s polo matches and prostitutes succeed in seducing Sarah Kendall?

Julia Roberts and Richard Gere share a tender moment of capitalism.

Julia Roberts and Richard Gere share a tender moment of capitalism.

What and why: Pretty Woman is a romantic comedy about a down-on-her-luck prostitute (is there any other kind?) who gets hired by a rich businessman to be his escort for one week. Over the course of the week they fall in love. So much so that they want to continue seeing each other once the week is over, but without him paying her 50 bucks every time he puts his penis in her.

You’d think it’d be impossible to have the words ‘fairytale romance’ and ‘prostitute’ in the same sentence, but this film manages to pull off a 90-minute magic act. And I blame Julia Roberts and Richard Gere. They are just so damned watchable and have such terrific chemistry. He becomes a better man through loving her, and she realises that she is a worthwhile human that deserves love and respect. She gets off the game to go to college, they end up together and true love triumphs.

Sadly, we don’t get to see the scene where their children ask, “Mummy, how did you and daddy meet?”

Julia Roberts and The Wig That Time Forgot.

Julia Roberts and The Wig That Time Forgot.

Rated or dated: The script was originally a dark cautionary tale about prostitution. After a few rewrites and massive injection of money, what it ended up being was an advertisement for hooking. Julia Roberts is so charismatic; fresh faced, funny, warm-hearted, oh and gorgeous. Of course, even the slightest acknowledgment of the realities of prostitution would cause the entire film to collapse. This would be a very different film if Julia Roberts’ hooker-with-a-heart-of-gold had a meth habit, a nasty venereal disease, or a pimp who routinely broke her nose.

The film is also irritatingly beguiled by wealth. It’s a major triumph to spend thousands on a shopping spree (even if the person buying it all is PAYING YOU FOR SEX). The penthouse suite, the luxury car, the polo matches and the private jet – these are all things that are worth aspiring to and worth selling your body for.

Having said all that, my answer is RATED. God damn it. I really enjoyed it. Sorry.

@Sarah_Kendall

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Written by Sarah Kendall

Sarah Kendall is an Australian stand-up comic who lives in London. She likes pictures of cats with lasers coming out of their eyes.