Like a pumpkin that transforms into a carriage, some very shrewd casting (and the charisma of Julia Roberts, in particular) morphed this story of a Hollywood whore into a Disneyfied Cinderella story--and a mainstream megahit. This is the movie that made Roberts a star, her charms helping tremendously to carry viewers over the rough spots in the script (which was originally to be a cynical tale about prostitution called 3000
--after the amount of money Richard Gere's character pays the prostitute to stay with him for the week). Gere is the silver-haired Wall Street knight who sweeps streetwalker Roberts into a fantasy world of room service at the Regent Beverly Wiltshire Hotel and fashion boutique shopping on Rodeo Drive. The supporting cast is also appealing, including Laura San Giacomo as Roberts's hooker pal, Hector Elizondo as the hotel manager, Jason Alexander, Ralph Bellamy and Hank Azaria. --Jim Emerson, Amazon.com
On the DVD: With a beautiful bubble effect offering a touch of fantasy to the special features menu, the viewer might expect a disc packed with lavish offerings. Unfortunately the extras are a little more spartan than the menu would have us believe, consisting of a theatrical trailer and a cringe-worthy pop video of "Wild Women Do", complete with a bouncing camera and "arty" black-and-white shots. The worst of these features comes in the form of the "production trailer", a useless addition which attempts to briefly summarise the film's underlying themes with inter-cut comments from the actors and directors on the original trailer (already featured in its pure form on the disc) and which offers little additional information of any merit. The disc does, however, come into its own when Gary Marshall takes the helm for the director's commentary: he has an entertaining and amusing narrative style, which is upbeat and direct like his film, and his comments really bring to life the fairy-tale narrative. Add to this a widescreen 1.85:1 presentation, which will make you feel as if Richard Gere has just swept you off your feet. --Nikki Disney
Lonely businessman Edward Lewis (Richard Gere) hires L.A. prostitute Vivian Ward (Julia Roberts) to give him directions when he gets lost, and later to be his escort while he goes wheeling and dealing for a week. He buys her clothes, she softens his heart and the unlikely couple fall head over heels in love.