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I have to admire Alan Alda for writing a film that contains characters we
can actually relate to. Characters who seem like normal, everyday people
and not farcical Hollywood creations. The problem? The film hardly goes
anywhere. And I only got a few laughs. I'm not asking for "The Naked Gun."
I'm not asking for a new gag every two minutes. But this film just didn't
have enough humor to classify itself as a comedy. It needed an extra dose
of energy, and I feel Alda should've stayed in front of the camera. Because
his direction is flat, and the whole movie just seems like one big home
video. Though the movie is only a little over ninety minutes, I felt some
scenes belonged on the cutting room floor.
The cast is superb and first-rate, and they could've shined with a funnier script. Joe Pesci is the best of a lot, in a role quite different from his usual wise-cracking, tough-guy-from-Brooklyn act. Other talents are Catherine O'Hara, Anthony LaPaglia, the late Madeline Kahn and Molly Ringwald.
My Dad used to say, whenever he would watch a bad comedy, "I guess they call it a comedy, since there's no tragedy in it." That's how I can classify "Betsy's Wedding." No tragedy, but the laughs are scarce.
P.S.: Look fast for Samuel L. Jackson as a taxi dispatcher.
My score: 5 (out of 10)
Alan Alda wrote, directed and stars in this tale in which he portrays a father who wants the best wedding reception and party possible for his soon to be wed daughter, Betsy (Molly Ringwald). He's even willing to go so far as to let the wedding be financed by the mob. Fairly amusing and plenty of big stars in small or costarring parts help to propel it.
A father (Alda) learns that his daughter (Ringwald) wants to get
married. He is determined to give her an extravagant wedding even though
his construction business is not doing well and he is in bad need of money.
If this thing had been played to it's full potential this might have been a real slam bang wedding satire. All the ingredients are there: feuding in-laws, disagreements on religions, seating arrangements, fashion styles, cost, and of course all those other unforeseen catastrophes. Unfortunately, like with all of Alda's films, he never plays anything out. He starts with something interesting and then pulls back just as it is about to get good. Some keen insights into the wedding process are lost. The climatic wedding 'disaster' is limp and only half of what it could have been. The needless story thread involving Alda's 'initiation' into a Italian crime family is both dumb and highly sterotyped.
The films lone payoff is the appearance of Bishop. He plays Alda's dead father and appears sporadically as 'visions'. Some of his observations are funny. Pesci also gives his part a lot of energy in a role that is slightly atypical for him. Yet none of it is enough to make it memorable.
3 out of 10.
Oh I remember this movie-A friend and I had been talking about comedies
, reminiscing really and she reminded me about this one. I'm sort of
weird with comedies-meaning I don't always like what the masses like-I
seem to remember liking this(somewhat) but being all grown up now I
doubt my reaction were I to view it would be as fond now.
There are many movies that stay timeless and never get old. In the case of Betsy's wedding once you see it, it does leave you with a certain sweetness afterwards. The movie had some sweet things to say although they've been done before. The ending, though, was REALLY cute. This is not a movie that I would say,(as many reviewers on here do)is awful. Rather I would call it a somewhat cute comedy that gets you through a rainy night.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
OK..OK..this may not be the best movie ever made but it is charming, sweet, funny, warm hearted and just makes you feel good to be a part of Betsy's wedding. The cast is wonderful. Alan Alda as usual is terrific as Eddie Hopper (Betsy's Dad), Joe Pesci and Catherine O'Hara are wonderful as a sparring couple, Madeline Kahn adds real warmth to her character as Lola (Betsy's Mum), Molly Ringwald is OK as Betsy (her outfits are pretty dismal and she seems to have that perpetual pout that can be annoying), Ally Sheedy also does an OK job as Connie (Betsy's cop sister) but her New York accent(I think that's what it was)was laid on a bit thick. For me Anthony LaPaglia's love sick gangster Stevie Dee was the highlight of the film. La Paglia is hilarious and he steals every scene that he's in...the chemistry between him and Ally Sheedy's Connie is great and the scenes they share are real gems. The final scenes of the wedding with the torn marquee,rain soaked guests and drenched bride and groom are very sweet.All in all a good "chick flick" to watch on a lazy Sunday afternoon.
Nothing could bring more rivalry between parents and would be in-laws
as a wedding. The young couple in this story has more common sense than
their elders. They just want a small affair, but then, the parents get
involved blowing the whole thing out of proportion. What a terrible
waste these things are. After all, most of them would end up in
Alan Alda has written, directed and is one of the stars of "Betsy's Wedding", a film about two different families, one struggling, and the other one rich, whose children are going to marry. The comedy is a bit dated. What starts as a small wedding ends up as an elaborate celebration in a tent in the middle of a rain storm. There are a few laughs in the picture.
Best of the whole thing are Ally Sheedy and Anthony LaPaglia who are supposed to be secondary characters. The large cast does what it can with the material they have to play. Alan Alda, Madeline Kahn, Molly Ringwald, Dylan Walsh, Joe Pesci, and Catherine O'Hara are seen as the family members.
This is a significant failure for interesting reasons.
Situations can be funny. Worlds can be funny. People can be too, but not all at the same time.
Alda comes from a tradition where people are funny. Situations are there, and worlds too, but only so that funny people can be so.
This is his script, and the whole idea is to fill the screen with people that he thinks are amusing. His style is soft caricatures so that's what we have here: soft Jewish mother, soft gangster, soft, soft, soft. Something like this formula works for MASH because the brand in such TeeVee shows is the accrued recognition without the edges.
But this is long form film, not a skit. Edges are required. Even the gangster shootout is padded with charm.
In such a situation, we seek out the most interesting character. Since there are none as characters, the game is to find the actor playing a character that we find appealing. Fortunately that is easy, since each actor is apparent as an actor.
The one that is the focus for me this time and when I saw it as new, is Anthony LaPaglia as the genteel second generation gangster. He falls for Ally Sheedy, here in red hair.
The expected center was to have been Betsy, played by Molly Ringwald. Her character is given one trait only, but that's all any is allowed. She is a wacky dress designer. The dresses aren't amusing, and most of them not that odd. This film, I think, is the turning point in her career, where we saw that she wasn't charming in the way we had seen earlier. I'm sure that is what she wanted, but there's nothing to substitute for how she was presented earlier.
Its all the more striking because her sister is played by Ally Sheedy.
Ted's Evaluation -- 1 of 3: You can find something better to do with this part of your life.
Alan Alda has worked with Woody Allen on several occasions, and it struck
watching this movie that he was trying for a Woody-ish ensemble piece.
despite a fine cast, this is no Crimes and Misdemeanors.
The various plot strands are not woven together sufficiently well; some of the characters can be almost forgotten about during lengthy periods off-screen, including the eponymous Betsy. Ally Sheedy and Antony LaPaglia provide the film's brightest moments with their unlikely romance (although not so unlikely in the movies, of course!).
Like "Parenthood" and "Moonstruck," Betsy's Wedding is a funny, feel-good
movie about a wonderfully eccentric family and their hilarious trials and
tribulations - it's about everything but their daughter's
This movie has it all! The mob, crazy romances, and outrageous revenge schemes! The cast is so wonderful and I give a thumbs up for Mr. Alan Alda's direction. I loved Madeline Kahn as always, Ally Sheedy was her sexiest, Molly Ringwald was great, and a special gratitude for Catherine O'Hara and Joe Pesci for making me roll of my seat laughing.
If your a fan of "Father of the Bride 1 and 2" or "Runaway Bride," your sure going to enjoy "Betsy's Wedding."
SCANDAL. LUST. DISASTER. INTRIGUE. ...and the invitations haven't even gone out yet!
Enjoy the show!
Betsy Hopper (Molly Ringwald) has an unusual family heritage. Her mother, Lola (Madeleine Kahn) is of Jewish extraction while Eddie, her dad (Alan Alda) has Italian-Catholic roots. When the elder Hoppers got married, long ago, there were so many issues for their two families that their wedding was simple trip to a justice of the peace. Now, Betsy, an offbeat fashion designer, has fallen for banker Luke (Dylan Walsh), whose wealthy family is as whitebread as they come. When the young adults announce an engagement, Betsy tells everyone that they want a very simple wedding. But, not to be outdone by his future in-laws, Eddie insists on throwing something more elaborate. This, even when his construction business has some problems, especially cash flow. Turning to his sister's husband (Joe Pesci) for help, Ed soon realizes he is dealing with mobster loan money from two gents, Stevie Dee (Anthony LaPaglia) and an elder mafia man (Burt Young). Things get even more in a tangle when Stevie falls for Betsy's single older sister, Connie (Ally Sheedy), who has been in a funk since the time of Betsy's announcement. From the wedding invitations to the menu to the choice of a wedding gown, Betsy has to battle the family system for what she wants. Will the ceremony go smoothly and lovingly? This movie, more than twenty years old, has some choice statements about everything from class to religion to money that seem equally relevant today. The large cast, which also includes Joey Bishop and Catherine O'Hara as well as those listed above, is truly great. The New York setting is glamorous while the costumes are well inspired. Then, too, the story and direction ring true to life again and again. Bet on Betsy, if you like family comedies. It is a simple pleasure for most viewers.
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