Betsy’s Wedding Review
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From modern romcoms to Shakespearian comedies to childhood fairy tales, weddings have always been a key element in any good happy ending. But in the 1990 romantic comedy Betsy’s Wedding, the happily-ever-after gets lost in a mess of competitive fathers and mob bosses.

When free-spirited design student Betsy Hopper (Molly Ringwald) announces her engagement to wealthy investment banker Jake Lovell (Dylan Walsh), her father, Eddie (Alan Alda), vows to give her the perfect wedding. Too proud to accept any help from Jake’s parents, Eddie goes to his brother-in-law, Oscar (Joe Pesci), for a loan. As collateral, he offers Oscar a cut of his latest building project—a beautiful waterfront Hamptons mansion.

Oscar sends his new assistant, Stevie Dee (Anthony LaPaglia), to keep an eye on the project—but Stevie is more interested in Eddie’s other daughter, Connie (Ally Sheedy). Theirs would be an unlikely pairing—since Connie’s a cop and Stevie Dee’s a fledgling mobster—but he’s determined to win her over.

Meanwhile, as Betsy tries to plan the wedding of her dreams, she begins cracking under the pressures and expectations placed on her by both families.

I’ve always said that planning a wedding is much like running for office: you end up spending most of your time and energy trying to make everybody happy (until you realize that it’s an impossible task, and you finally stop trying). And Betsy’s Wedding has some of that crazy wedding-planning insanity—just not enough of it.

Molly Ringwald is right at home in her role as the eccentric young bride-to-be who’s planning a wedding with a sweet but ultra-conventional groom. She’s even lovably edgy and original in ways that might remind you of Pretty in Pink. And her story has a little bit of everything: romance, drama, comedy, and plenty of family madness.

But Betsy’s story isn’t given all that much attention—and the light-hearted romantic comedy about the challenges of planning a wedding ends up buried beneath the film’s random mob subplot. Betsy is left to fret about her ugly wedding dress and her uptight in-laws somewhere off-camera while frantic father Eddie and love struck Stevie Dee steal the spotlight.

Fortunately, though, LaPaglia often makes an entertaining distraction. He’s totally intense and over-the-top as the young Mafioso—and his Stevie is so genuinely smitten with Connie that he somehow manages to make stalking look more cute than creepy.

Thanks to Ringwald and LaPaglia, Betsy’s Wedding does have some fun moments—as long as you can accept the fact that it’s not really about Betsy or her wedding. But while it could have been a lovable romcom about the sometimes maddening road to happily-ever-after, it’s mostly just a haphazard comedy about shady businessmen and their shady business deals.

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