Betsy’s Wedding

As writer-director-actor, Alan Alda isn’t remotely the equivalent of Frances Goodrich and Albert Hackett, Vincente Minnelli, or Spencer Tracy, but this is still an attempt to update Father of the Bride 40 years later. The setting is once again comfortable suburbia, and the father’s headaches concerning his daughter’s upcoming wedding are still the main focus, but there’s a world of difference between, say, the genuinely disturbing nightmare in the Minnelli movie and Alda’s embarrassing experiments with dry ice to simulate anxiety. The young couple this time is a New Age pair played by Molly Ringwald and Dylan Walsh; the father this time (Alda) is a building contractor from an Italian background married to a Jew (Madeline Kahn), which paves the way for some extremely broad ethnic caricatures, particularly when it comes to the wife’s brother (a slum landlord played by Joe Pesci) and his Mafia business associates (Burt Young and Anthony LaPaglia) who become involved with a building project the father is working on to pay for the big-scale wedding. To complicate matters, the crook charmingly acted by LaPaglia happens to be smitten with the bride-to-be’s sister (Ally Sheedy), a cop. This is a fairly decent comedy about contemporary mores if you aren’t looking for too much; with Catherine O’Hara, Julie Bovasso, Nicolas Coster, and Bibi Besch. (JR)

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