T uneful, schlocky, and deeply offensive unless you have a take-it-or-leave-it approach to female agency, the Broadway musical Pretty Woman turns on the adorably chaste question of whether or not a boy and a girl will kiss on the lips.
Pretty Woman review – Broadway romcom transfer is a tasteless disaster
Not that you will see any sex. This love story about a free-spirited prostitute and her john is a family show! Get your mind out of the proscenium. Even in , Pretty Woman was already a pretty terrible idea for a romantic comedy. Only the volcanic charm of Julia Roberts as Vivian, the manic pixie dream sex worker — that hair, that smile — made it watchable. The tale of a corporate raider, Edward Richard Gere in the movie, Andy Karl here, playing a blander version of his Groundhog Day character , who self-actualizes after a week with a Hollywood Boulevard hooker Samantha Barks, spunky, but no auburn force of nature , has aged about as well as a carton of milk left on a radiator forever.
The score by Bryan Adams and Jim Vallance is perfectly pleasant, but except for a couple of riffs so macho-sounding they suggest a penis as plectrum, it is also perfectly unremarkable. Enterprising Vivian, a pair of high-heeled PVC boots with a girl attached, offers directions and herself.
Edward, intrigued, hires her for a night. Call it the summer of Vivian obviously practices safe sex, but Edward goes through women like so many company prospectuses. You might have thought that a musical adaptation, even one created by an all-male creative team, would have nodded to a few cultural changes or at least given its female lead a credible storyline.
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You might have thought wrong. No, the book credited to Garry Marshall and JF Lawton is still the heartwarming story of how sex teaches a man to feel and money teaches a woman to … shop? But now it has a middle-aged male narrator Eric Anderson added on. The Pretty Woman musical, directed by Jerry Mitchell is cheap, too, a perilous and revealing choice as the original film is, at its best, cutesified affluence porn.
Instead we get fake palms, fake luxury, fake everything.
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