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Betsy’s Wedding (1989)

In Betsy’s Wedding, Eddie Hopper (Alan Alda) shows off and gives daughter Betsy (Molly Ringwald) a fabulous formal wedding. What happens next is every bride’s nightmare.

This is not a new idea. It was done before (and better) in the Spencer Tracy/Elizabeth Taylor classic, Father of The Bride, from which writer-director-star Alda steals whole scenes shamelessly.

But the idea still works and by the time the big evening arrives, the Jewish side of the family screams, “it’s escalating – like the arms race!”  while the Italian side of the family is up to their ears in debt and the mob.

Mother Lola (hilarious Madeline Kahn) wants a rabbi, Pop wants a priest, Betsy’s parents are losing their house, her older sister Connie (Ally Sheedy) is in love with a gangster, the wedding lands on the rainiest day of the year and the tent leaks!

It’s silly, but never dull, and the ethnic differences make for a lot of humour about religion.

Alda’s script is crisp, his pacing lively, and the actors all play it for real instead of for guffaws, which makes everything twice as amusing.

Eddie Hopper
Alan Alda
Mr Hopper
Joey Bishop
Lola Hopper
Madeline Kahn
Betsy Hopper
Molly Ringwald
Stevie Dee
Anthony LaPaglia
Gloria Henner
Catherine O’Hara
Oscar Henner
Joe Pesci
Connie Hopper
Ally Sheedy
Georgie
Burt Young
Grandma
Julie Bovasso
Harry Lovell
Nicolas Coster
Nancy Lovell
Bibi Besch
Jake Lovell
Dylan Walsh
Angelica
Camille Saviola
Nate Tobias
Allan Rich

Director
Alan Alda