Betsy’s Wedding (1990): 3/5
Molly Ringwald is Betsy, a young woman who gets engaged and wants an unconventional wedding. Her father, after learning of the engagement, wants to give her the most grand and extravagant wedding possible. Betsy comes from a working-class family. Her dad is a construction worker. Her fiance, Jake, comes from a family of rich, conservative WASPs. As wedding plans begin to come together, the two families butt heads over how the wedding should be.
With a cast of well-known stars of the day including Ringwald, Alan Alda, Joey Bishop, Anthony LaPaglia and Ally Sheedy, this comedy has a lot of potential. And the cast does deliver. Convincing and realistic performances are given all around.
But unfortunately, the script doesn’t quite deliver as many laughs as the viewer expects.
I still enjoyed it quite a bit. Comedies don’t always have to be a laugh-out-loud riot. The subtlety here lies in the comedic value of the every-day situations that arise while planning a wedding.
Despite my appreciation of subtle comedy, the material did fall flat in comparison with my expectations up until the last few scenes.
My favorite part of the film is actually the relationship between two fairly small supporting characters. Ally Sheedy plays Betsy’s sister Connie, a reserved NYC cop who doesn’t seem to have much interest in a social life. She soon meets Stevie Dee (Anthony LaPaglia), a mildly obsessive but also quite endearing guy who “can’t stop thinking about” her.
They continue to consider a relationship despite the fact that Connie’s father doesn’t exactly approve, due to Stevie’s tough and mob-tied family. This is also a cause of apprehension for Connie, who doesn’t see a future with him because she’s a cop and cops are meant to target mobsters, not date them.
I found myself wishing that the film would focus more on them. They’re just one of many side-stories that go somewhat unnoticed by the main characters due to their preoccupation with the wedding. But Sheedy and LaPaglia have fantastic chemistry, and an increased focus on their romance could have only helped the film.
Overall, Betsy’s Wedding is a decent comedy and a fairly realistic portrayal of family relations surrounding a big event such as a wedding. It could certainly use a jolt of energy, but it’s still worth a watch.