Betsy's Wedding (1990) Poster

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Good-hearted, well-intentioned comedy with realistic characters...but it's not that funny
mattymatt4ever28 January 2002
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)
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This film is highlighted by its great all star cast
soranno28 October 2002
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.
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Fizzles After a Terrific Set-Up
rwint24 July 2003
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.
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Average comedy that had both good and bad moments.
triple88 December 2004
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.
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A wedding in a leaking tent
jotix10011 November 2005
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 divorce.

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.
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Pillow Fight
tedg10 July 2008
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.
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Not so great
fredfall26 December 2000
Alan Alda has worked with Woody Allen on several occasions, and it struck me watching this movie that he was trying for a Woody-ish ensemble piece. But, 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!).
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Like "Parenthood" and "Moonstruck" and almost better!!!
Guy14330 August 1999
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 wedding!

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!
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I like this movie a lot
jceo7 July 2010
Warning: 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.
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Utterly Pointless
ProofUndeniable24 July 2003
"Betsy's Wedding" is absolutely yawn-worthy and I can't imagine how green-lighting this film was ever considered a good idea. The story is so uninteresting and incoherent that it's a total waste of celluloid. Upon excruciating inspection, one might be able to discern that Betsy (Molly Ringwald) is set to be married to a man who comes from money. Betsy's father (Alan Alda) is determined to pay for the wedding and throw an obnoxious display to prove that he can toss cash around with the best of them. What ensues is an agonizing plotline following Alda as considers getting involved with the mob to finance the debacle. As a fan of both Ringwald and Ally Sheedy -who co-stars as Betsy's cop sister- I can't imagine why either one took roles in such a turkey.
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I'd Rather Have Seen the Divorce
J. Wellington Peevis4 February 2003
One of the lamer wedding movies you'll see. Smacks too too much of its time period so it was out of date before it hit the theaters. The ethnic stereotypes are like a Henny Youngman joke, except they just aint in the least bit funny here. Molly Ringwald, well what else needs to be said. Give you a clue to the silliness, she destroys a $10,000 wedding dress, because "It just won't be me" makes it into this rag, with straps and puts on a top hat, and everyone smiles cutely at her moxy, rather than ringwalding her neck. Its a helluva a cast too, check out how heavy Ally Sheedy is. Wheeeew!
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Bet on Betsy for an entertaining film that was before its time, in many aspects
Amy Adler5 September 2012
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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Sheedy and LaPaglia steal the movie
Boyo-229 March 2000
A movie like this is only as good as the ensemble in it, and in this case all the actors masterfully create characters that we immediately identify with or sympathize with. Sometimes we laugh with them, too, but unfortunately, not as much as one would hope.

Out of the large cast, Ally Sheedy and Anthony LaPaglia shine above the other actors and are memorable. Also Catherine O'Hara is one of those people who makes me laugh just to look at her. If it were up to me, she's be in EVERYTHING.
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The supporting players outclass the leads
moonspinner5512 September 2017
Although "Betsy's Wedding" was written and directed by star Alan Alda, somehow the incidental characters dotting the supporting cast are far more interesting than the leading players (and I'm not sure this was intentional). Contractor and his wife in suburban New York need an extra $30,000 to pay for their unconventional daughter's wedding (if the bride-to-be is so offbeat and unconventional, I'm not sure why she wants to take part in the very conventional institution of marriage). Alda and Madeline Kahn are well-matched as husband and wife, but neither are very funny; as Betsy, Molly Ringwald, too, hasn't much to work with. Better are Ally Sheedy as the cop-daughter who can't find a man, Anthony LaPaglia and Burt Young as mobsters, Joe Pesci as Uncle Oscar and Catherine O'Hara as a glinty-eyed in-law. Alda writes group scenes with everyone talking at once as if he overdosed on "Father of the Bride" (1950) and Robert Altman's "A Wedding"--and even that would be fine if the arguments were colorful or amusing. Instead, Betsy gets upset when the wedding grows too big, or when nobody can agree on the music for the ceremony, or why grandma doesn't understand the exclusion of God from the wedding vows. Alda constantly aims for easy targets--too-familiar ones. *1/2 from ****
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Lovely version of a family favorite!
Predrag8 February 2017
This movie was surprisingly funny and timeless. Alan Alda, Ally Sheedy, Molly Ringwold, Joe Pesci and the late Madeline Kahn star in this funny wedding movie. Everyone knows Alda as a funny man who has been turning in some more serious performances lately but who knew Joe Pesci could be funny? Naturally, there is trouble over putting Eddie Hopper's (Alda) daughter's (Ringwold) wedding together. Straightforward plot with interest created by great characters and the actors who play them. This is a fun movie about family. Alan Alda outdoes himself in this 80's comedy. It's like we have a part of his hawk-eye personality back from MASH in this comedy.

The plot is very simple. Hopper's family is comfortable but not rich but the other family is rolling in dough and wants to take over the wedding. Oscar Henner (Pesci) is in construction but has ties to organized crime. Oscar is having an affair with his secretary but his wife (Catherine O'Hara) knows all about it. Hopper's other daughter (Sheedy) falls for the nephew (Anthony LaPaglia as Stevie Dee) of Oscar's not so honest associate (Burt Young). She's a cop and he's connected to the mob. Eddie borrows money from Oscar to pay for the wedding but Oscar charges him interest. Oscar involves Eddie in a deal with his associate but to get out of the deal might get him killed. Oscar offers to find a tent for the wedding but cuts a deal with someone and gets the wrong kind of tent. By the way, Oscar rents an apartment to the newlyweds in one of his tenament slum buildings! By the way, look for Samuel Jackson (unknown then) in a very small bit part in the taxi depot scene. It's lots of fun. No nudity, sex, violence.

Overall rating: 7 out of 10.
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not that funny
SnoopyStyle18 October 2016
Eddie Hopper (Alan Alda) owns a small construction business. The latest project falls through and he decides to go into debt to finish the house. At a family gathering for grandpa (Joey Bishop)'s birthday, his daughter Betsy (Molly Ringwald) announces her engagement to boyfriend Jake Lovell (Dylan Walsh). They want a small intimate wedding. To his wife Lola (Madeline Kahn)'s dismay, he gets into a competition with Jake's rich corporate raider father and ends up paying for an extravagant wedding. He asks Lola's sister Gloria (Catherine O'Hara)'s sleazy cheating developer husband Oscar Henner (Joe Pesci) for help. Oscar introduces him to mobster-like Georgie (Burt Young) who in exchange for a loan installs his nephew Stevie Dee (Anthony LaPaglia) to manage the home construction. Stevie Dee is taken with the house and Eddie's elder daughter cop Connie (Ally Sheedy). Then there is the wedding with fashion student Betsy's unconventional style and conflicting non-religious sensibility. The shootout doesn't help either.

Alan Alda wrote, directed, and starred in this movie. It's not that funny and overloaded with story from every other character. The saving grace is that I like everybody starting with Alda. He has an easy charm and the family has a loving chemistry. The wedding dysfunction works some of the time but it is simply not funny enough. As for the Razzie nominations of Molly Ringwald and Ally Sheedy, I don't get it. Ringwald's character can be a little annoying but that's about it. Sheedy and newcomer LaPaglia are actually endearing together and I love their budding relationship. Somebody at the Razzies must have had it in for this movie.
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'I would be very deeply and profoundly saddened if I or anybody caused you a single moment of unhappiness.'
TxMike4 February 2004
Warning: Spoilers
I had seen 'Betsy's Wedding' years ago, and recently bought the DVD for under $6. The DVD transfer is very good for a movie of this age, the movie is actually better than I remembered it, and apparently under-appreciated by most viewers. Alan Alda wrote and directed it, and plays the father, Eddie Hopper, a general housing contractor who gets in a little over his head. There are several stories going on, and the actual wedding is the least significant of them all. It is a superb comedy, with great dialog, especially from Australian actor Anthony LaPaglia who plays Stevie Dee, and its 'R' rating is consistent with its mature theme, I rate it '8' of 10.

The rest of my comments, for my own recollection, contain SPOILERS, please read no further.

The movie begins with Betsy (Molly Ringwald) and her boyfriend Jake with her family at their modest rural home in West Hampton, celebrating grandpa's birthday, and announcing that they are getting married. The proud parents of two daughters begin to think about a small, intimate ceremony and reception. Until they meet Jake's investment banking parents at a restaurant, rich folks, who live in a NYC home that looks more like a museum, and who are determined to 'help' the kids have a nice wedding they will remember. As they walk into the exercise room, Jake's mom says, 'Henry is a little competitive, he knows exactly how many repetitions each of his vice presidents can do.' Well, Eddie is competitive too, and the first story is how the two families compete to have their way, plan the wedding, never mind what the kids want.

The second story concerns Eddie losing financial backing for a spec house he is building on the water in Long Island, his shady brother-in-law Oscar (Joe Pesci, in a nice role) helps him get mob-backed financing, which almost gets Eddie killed in a drive-by shooting outside a restaurant with the crooks, but Stevie Dee, the nephew, is being introduced to the 'business' and at the house site notices Eddie's other daughter, Connie (Ally Sheedy), a cop who 'loves to arrest people', gives her a high for the rest of the day. Which is the third story, Stevie Dee's quest for Connie, against all odds.

A fourth story is Oscar's wife, who knows Oscar is cheating in an affair with his young blonde secretary, she decides to get even instead of getting mad. Oscar has a big mouth and tells her of all his potential deals, she buys a property first under an alias, then sells it back to Oscar for a big profit, saving up for the day she dumps him. We witness one of them, he needs to buy a fish market, tells wife he would go as high as $1.5million, she writes it in her book, later at the wedding reception he laments how much 'that guy' stuck him for, 'it was almost as if he knew how high I was willing to pay.'

The compact 90-minute movie ends with the (short) wedding and the reception at the Long Island construction site in a tent, obtained by Oscar, but it rains, the ratty tent leaks, bursts, everyone gets wet, but the newlyweds are happy, Eddie gets out of the arrangement with the mob, and Stevie Dee and Connie seem happy togther. Stevie Dee announces to his uncle, 'I've decided what I want to do with my life. I will enroll in the police academy.'

Easy to miss is a small role by Samuel L. Jackson as the taxi dispatcher. This was a few years before he started to get prime roles which propelled him to stardom.
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Not an indicator of Alda's talent.
jckruize23 October 2002
Dull, flatly-directed "comedy" has zero laughs and wastes a great cast. Alan Alda wore too many hats on this one and it shows. Newcomer Anthony LaPaglia provides the only spark of life in this tedium but it's not enough.

One of those scripts that, if you were a neophyte and submitted it to an agent or producer, would be ripped to shreds and rejected without discussion.
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"Father of the Bride meets Guys and Dolls"
mike4812828 June 2012
Warning: Spoilers
Rated only a "7" because of the annoying use of the "F" word throughout the film. A funny but uneven film. Alan Alda is the father of the bride just like Spencer Tracy and borrows a tiny bit from that movie. A lot of comic stereotypes. Betsy's mother (Madeline Kahn) is Jewish but it mostly pokes fun at the Italian Mafia. Joe Pesci plays the sneaky, unfaithful, dishonest Brother-In-Law. Anthony LaPaglia is hilarious playing his "Marlon Brando" impression to the hilt. (Think "Sky Masterson" from Guys and Dolls). Some character actors are wasted; Catherine O'Hara (the Home Alone mom) has very little to do and Burt Young can't act. But Joey Bishop steals the show as the dead father. Both Betsy (Molly Ringwald) and her sister seem too old for their roles. Ally Sheedy looks overweight. Best scenes: the Italian dinner, complete with drive-by shooting. The tent-wedding with a "cheesy" band and torrents of rain destroying the rented tent. The wedding ceremony with the Rabbi sneaking in "God" at the last moment. Alan Alda remembering the bride as his 10-year-old daughter. The movie is short, which is a good thing, as it runs out of ideas at the end. Alan Alda's better movies are "Sweet Liberty" and "The Four Seasons."
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How a simple wedding can go really bad
mikevezina28 April 2012
We thoroughly enjoyed this movie, especially the performance by "Without a Trace" Anthony LaPaglia. It really shows his range as an actor. I would have never thought he could play comedic roles, but his lines and delivery were hilarious!

Great cast with Madeline Kahn of Blazing Saddles (she sure looked different).Catherine O'Hara has a great way to deal with a cheating husband Joe Pesci - again he too looks very different with a mustache and different hair. Burt Young of "Rocky" is excellent as the Italian mobster. I'm not a big Ally Sheedy or Molly Ringwall fan, but the other cast more than make up for their lack of charisma.
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A bit of fun
pwynne-320 June 2006
In a world where brides turn into bridezilla when things don't go exactly as they planned, it's refreshing to see a film about someone who can role with the punches and not take the whole thing too seriously. It's the marriage, not the wedding, that needs people's best efforts. Anthony LaPaglia did a great job, especially when he told his uncle he was going to apply to the police acadamy. It sparked my interest in his other accomplishments and I've be watching for him ever since. Loved the contrasts, even if they were a little exaggerated. Alda and Kahn played great off each other. My favorite lines. Alda: I wanted to give you a wedding you'd never forget. Ringwold (while munching on a piece of pizza) Hmm. I don't think I'll ever forget this. Great family dynamics. An imaginative romp.
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A classic all star comedy.
Dominick Mazza28 November 2005
Betsy's Wedding in my opinion is one of the funniest comedy movies of all time. True I do love Madeline Kahn, but thats not the only reason. The whole cast is perfect. Alan Alda wrote, directed and stars along with Joe Pesci, Catherine O'Hara, Molly Ringwald, Ally Sheedy, Anthony LaPaglia, Joey Bishop, Dylan Walsh, Burt Young, Nicholas Coaster, Bibi Besch, Julie Bovasso and Camille Savilla, but its Madeline Kahn who steals the show once again. The reason is because she plays a normal character for once. I mean Ilove her larger than life roles, but its great to see her in a straight role for once and getting the biggest laughs with her deadpan delivery. Why this picture wasn't as successful as it was is puzzling. It had as many laughs than any other films of the 80's or 90's. It is on DVD and gets played often on cable channels. I wish they could re-release it on DVD though with deleted scenes. I am sure there are plenty as well as outtakes too. It is worth viewing if you haven't seen it yet. Why not watch and post your opinion in a review.
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Love This Movie
bball1dad17 May 2003
I don't understand why folks think this movie is flat. All the lead names do wonderful jobs, but I also loved Oscar's secretary, his wife, the bride's grandmother, the groom's dad and so on and so on. Hey what's not to like?
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