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The Gun in Betty Lou's Handbag
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10 out of 10 people found the following review useful:


Author: Rhea from California
30 June 2003

I saw this movie on TV and I have to admit.. I loved it! I was planning to go to sleep but once this movie came on I watched it all the way through! Although not exactly an Oscar winner, it had a charm all it's own. I think the cast was what made it, I loved Betty Lou and especially Eric Thal as Alex! They had great chemistry and were really cute together! This is a fun cute movie definitely NOT to be taken seriously, but just to sit back and enjoy! It still has a little bit of 80's fun to it.. I think in the 80's a lot of movies were made that would NEVER be made now, but now they are so fun to watch! This had a little bit of that. I dunno, I just loved it!

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11 out of 12 people found the following review useful:

Fun at the beginning, a bit violent at the end

Author: Amy Adler from Toledo, Ohio
12 January 2005

Betty Lou (Penelope Ann Miller) is a librarian who suffers from the doormat syndrome - people walk all over her. At home, it is not much better, as policeman husband Alex works late. When he fails to come home for their anniversary dinner, Betty Lou snaps out of her complacency. Finding a gun connected to a homicide, she devices a scheme to make herself visible....she'll confess to the murder of a mafioso. It works. She is the most talked about person in town, with one problem. The mafia may be chasing her now.

Penelope Ann Miller is one of those actresses you like to look & listen to, no matter what the part. She does a fine job as the long suffering wife and librarian. Eric Thal displays charm as Alex and Julianne Moore as Betty Lou's sister, in a role that obviously came before her leap into stardom, is a welcome addition. The plot is fun at first but things get deadly serious and violent near the ending. Do you like silly romantic plots, even when a little nastiness is thrown in? This movie will satisfy your basic requirements.

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10 out of 11 people found the following review useful:

Enjoyable romantic comedy

Author: jeffws from Tucson, Arizona
24 January 2004

I beg to differ with the previous reviewer. On the contrary, this film does have a plot and is funny, with a rewarding ending. It is a light comedy, true. What I liked about it is that it is not just another cookie-cutter formula Hollywood movie. The plot is unique and believable, the writing is intelligent, the acting is adequate, the conclusion is appropriate to the plot. The two main characters, Betty Lou and Alex, grow and mature from their initial portrayal.

It is not a major film, but it is rewarding in its own way, an enjoyable way to spend 89 minutes. Lots of fun.

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8 out of 9 people found the following review useful:

Surprisingly good movie!

Author: awhirley from Memphis, TN
29 June 2003

I thought this movie was going to be light and funny--and it WAS in some parts. Alfree Woodard and Faye Grant give especially good performances. Faye Grant's character is a scream! And Julianne Moore is great as Betty Lou's sister. But when it got to the suspenseful parts, it went beyond light and funny. It was surprisingly good. I enjoyed every minute of it.

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7 out of 8 people found the following review useful:

Four Oscar Nominated Actresses in One Movie!!!

Author: eslgr8 from Alhambra, CA
3 December 2005

I enjoyed The Gun in Betty Lou's Handbag. Though it's a far from great romantic comedy, it does have its funny (and quirky) moments, and a charming performance by Golden Globe Nominee Penelope Ann Miller. It's also a chance to see handsome sexy Eric Thal in a leading role (a shame he didn't become a bigger name!). But what sets Betty Lou apart from other "pretty good" romantic comedies is the fact that it features not one, not two, not three, but four Oscar nominated actresses: Alfre Woodard, Julianne Moore, and Cathy Moriarty, and Catherine Keener, each of whom is delightful in her role. I'll bet the producers had no idea what a goldmine supporting cast they'd assembled. The 89 minute running time suggests a film with many scenes left on the cutting room floor. Too bad there won't be a Special Edition of this one, as I'd love to see those deleted scenes!

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7 out of 8 people found the following review useful:

Not nearly as bad as the comments

Author: Art1-2 from Sacramento
22 April 2002

A bit too violent to be a comedy, but come on folks, it wasn't that bad. The story is that behind every person is someone to know, and that every person needs to risk and live.

OK, granted Beaudeen didn't have to use the knife in such graphic manners, but overall, good dialogue and decent acting.

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4 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

Admittedly All Over The Place

Author: ( from Philadelphia, PA
5 July 2006

I get a big kick out of this film, partly because I know a librarian named Betty Lou! Needless to say she is nothing like the semi-stereotypical librarian of the movie...

In the film, Betty Lou is a mousy librarian and frustrated wife. Although innocent, she allows herself to be implicated in a crime of passion in order to challenge her husband's (all too accurate) preconceptions. With the aid of a prostitute with a heart of gold and an ambitious freshman lawyer, Betty Lou transforms herself into an assertive and confidant woman. Unfortunately there are some unforeseen consequences that could cost her her life!

Other reviewers have pointed out that this film is very uneven in tone. It isn't really a romantic comedy, more of a light thriller like "Get Shorty." The real problem is that the plot isn't clever enough for a thriller, the humor isn't sufficient for a comedy, and it certainly isn't dark enough for noir. However it has a naive symbolism I find appealing, and the actors appear to be having a good time with their roles. I'd call it stereotypical rather than sexist - I can easily imagine some women I've known going to such extremes for attention!

I wouldn't go out of my way to look this one up. But if it's on the tube and there's nothing else to see give it a try!

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6 out of 8 people found the following review useful:

you do not see movies like this these days

Author: g404c
27 December 2005

I saw this movie on Christmas Day, 2005, having never seen it before. The Gun in Betty Lou's Handbag really captures the mood of the early 1990s (has some of that '80s vibe present). Penelope Ann Miller is fun as Betty Lou, and Eric Thal and Cathy Moriarty also give fine performances.

The movie is about a repressed, but zany woman who works in a library and is married to a police detective in small-town Missouri. When she happens about a gun one day, one thing leads to another and she ends up firing it, by accident, and later she confesses to killing someone all because she wants a more exciting life and for people to notice her.

This movie has the same vibe as some others released in 1992 (Mo' Money, Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Jersey Girl)--I do not know how to describe it--I guess it has a sort of innocence that seems to have all but vanished these days. I recommend The Gun In Betty Lou's Handbag for a rainy day.

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3 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

Well it's Definitely different

Author: triple8 from Conn
3 May 2005

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

SPOILERS THRGHOUOUT: Gun in Betty Lou's handbag is definitely one of the stranger movies I've seen. Contrary to many other views however, I don't think this was a bad movie, merely strange. It actually had an intriguing story but the way it went about the unraveling of it was a bit off.

This movie was at times nourish, at other times almost a parody. It was quite odd in that parts of this movie were actually spooky and dramatic yet other times almost blatantly comical. It kept switching back and forth in tone, not just once or twice but a constant switching between the two atmospheres one moment genuinely suspenseful, and the next over the top comedic which at first was actually kind of refreshing in that it certainly was different but after awhile it stopped being refreshing and just became a bit odd. It was definitely better in the beginning then toward the end.

I really think this movie would have been very very good had it just been mostly serious throughout and concentrated on the nourish elements instead of going a bit over the top with the comedic. The story just didn't wear comedy well, it wasn't suited for it. Yet there were certain things I liked. I liked the photography, the way this was filmed. I liked the rich array of interesting characters and even some of the comedy was good particularly Betty's scene in jail, when she first meets her cell mate. I also loved the musical score used, it went perfectly with the atmosphere of the movie (and was definitely not a comedic musical score at all.) Betty Loe's Handbag was one of the oddest movie's I've ever seen, so odd that it's even difficult to do a review. It's not as bad as many have said, I liked it at times, and it sure was different but it was definitely not for everybody and OK but not great though it maybe could have been. My vote is 6 of 10.

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

A who's-who of 80s awesomeness wrapped up in a cute comedy

Author: rooprect from New York City
3 December 2012

If you're a fan of 80s movies & TV, you'll have a blast watching "The Gun in Betty Lou's Handbag". Released in 1992, I consider this one of the last "80s movies" with an allstar cast (though sadly underrated today).

For starters we've got the amazing Faye Grant (remember "V" & "The Greatest American Hero"?) in a role like you've never seen: a frustrated southern belle housewife who's just 1 Gucci away from being trailer park trash. She steals the show in every scene.

Then there's William Forsythe (Al Capone in "The Untouchables" TV series, the bad guy in "Out for Justice", etc) who plays such a creepy villain you almost forget you're watching a comedy.

It gets better... how about Meatloaf, yes, MEATLOAF in a cameo as "Larry".

There's my personal fave, Cathy Moriarty ...or as I like to think of her, the closest thing to Lauren Bacall since Lauren Bacall... as the tough street walker who changes Betty Lou's life. Cathy has played almost every mobster wife in every mobster movie ever made. Absolutely perfect.

There's the incomparable Julianne Moore (who's been in everything, but my fave would have to be her recent appearances on 30 Rock) as Betty Lou's nutty slutty sister.

How about Alfre Woodard (Betty Applewhite on "Desperate Housewives") as the rookie lawyer who's "defending" Betty Lou against murder charges even though she got her attorney's license through the mail.

And that brings us to Betty Lou herself, played by Penelope Ann Miller whom I'll always remember as Winnie, Pee-wee Herman's girlfriend in "Big Top Pee-Wee". She does such a great job as the repressed, oppressed & distressed housewife who decides to go on an adventure for the first time in her mousey life.

The director, Allan Moyle, may not be as famous as Spielberg, but he's done some great comedies such as "Pump Up the Volume" and "New Waterford Girl" (two films I highly recommend).

There are more actors I didn't recognize until I saw the credits: Catherine Keener (the hot chick in "Being John Malkovich"), Stanley Tucci ("Miami Vice" TV series), and did I mention MEATLOAF? The result of this great lineup is a film which was obviously a lot of fun to make, and it's certainly a lot of fun to watch. Even if you're not familiar with all these people I've mentioned, their colorful characterizations will be very memorable.

The story itself is an interesting blend. It's a badass chick flick like "Thelma & Louise" crossed with a small town crime caper like "My Cousin Vinny" and a light thriller like "Get Shorty" wrapped up into one. The presentation, though at times intense, remains breezy throughout, and although there are several murders on screen, it doesn't get too disturbing. They don't make em like this anymore. Like I said earlier, don't miss the chance to see one of the last of the "80s" crime-comedy classics.

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