Betsy's Wedding (1990)

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Released 18-Nov-2003

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Comedy None
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 1990
Running Time 90:09
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Language Select Then Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Alan Alda

Walt Disney Studios Home Ent.
Starring Alan Alda
Joey Bishop
Madeline Kahn
Anthony LaPaglia
Catherine O'Hara
Joe Pesci
Molly Ringwald
Ally Sheedy
Burt Young
Julie Bovasso
Nicolas Coster
Bibi Besch
Dylan Walsh
Case Amaray-Transparent-Secure Clip
RPI $19.95 Music Bruce Broughton
Julius Robinson

Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
French Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kb/s)
Spanish Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.85:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English
English for the Hearing Impaired
Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

     I shall begin this review with true confessions. I really like Alan Alda's work. Okay, he's always pretty much Alan Alda in what he does, but he seems to be aware of that, and finds work that can accommodate it.

     Alda wrote the script and directed Betsy's Wedding, which solved any problems with creative differences I guess, and what results is a charming bit of fluff that manages to be warm enough for us to forego too many critical judgements.

     He plays Eddie Hopper, patriarch of a close family blended with Italian and Jewish traditions. As a building contractor, he finds himself mortgaging everything to complete a luxury mansion that he's building on spec. And just to compound his problems, his quirky, original daughter, Betsy (Molly Ringwald) announces that she's marrying the son of a corporate takeover tycoon. The competitive instincts of the two fathers blow out of control as they vie for the dominant hand over the wedding, resulting in Eddie having to borrow money from his wife's brother in law, Oscar (Joe Pesci), whose scamming ways have made him a cohort of the local mob. So Eddie finds himself "in business" with those Italian boys with shady nicknames, out of control with the wedding, and barely on speaking terms with his kids.

     What will happen to Betsy's wedding? She has her own ideas of course, but somehow, they don't seem to have too much relevance in the face of the overbearing demands of the parents on both sides.

     And now a mob boy is after Eddie's other daughter. Where will it all end?

     Well, in farce and comedy naturally. In all honesty, this piece is laden with stereotypes, clichés and schlock of the highest order, but since it doesn't take itself too seriously, it's somehow just on this side of forgivable. And Alda very wisely put together a fantastic cast, who all genuinely understand timing and comedic acting. Catherine O'Hara is radiant in her small but supportive role, and Madeline Kahn tones down her frequently kooky persona to deliver a warm and credible performance as the mother. It's quite a treat to see Anthony LaPaglia doing a young Bobby De Niro impersonation, and kind of getting away with it. Burt Young is as reliable as ever playing the mob man with an unseen sentimental heart.

     There's nothing deep or particularly profound in Betsy's Wedding, other than a prevailing warmth of the love of a good family, but it's fun and it's light and it's as sparkly as cheap wedding champagne - you wouldn't cellar it necessarily, but it does the job nicely.

Don't wish to see plot synopses in the future? Change your configuration.

Transfer Quality


     The transfer is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.85:1, 16x9 enhanced which would appear to be close to its original format.

     Whilst the print is on the soft side there's reasonable detail, little low level noise and acceptable luminance.

     Of particular irritation in the colour palette was the intensity of the reds, which at times were very aggressive indeed. Skin tones also had a little more ruddiness than I like to see, but not so much as to be distracting.

     Aside from a hint of aliasing and a peculiar chroma shift at 40:08, the transfer was relatively clean. Film to video artefacts were rather heavy in the opening titles but they settled in the first scene and rarely made a nuisance of themselves after that.

     Subtitles were accurate and legible and presented on screen at timely intervals.

     This disc is a singled sided, single layered DVD.

Video Ratings Summary
Shadow Detail
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts


     There are three audio tracks on this DVD; English Dolby Digital 5.1, French Dolby Digital 5.1, and Spanish Dolby Digital 2.0.

     The dialogue was mostly clear and easy to understand although it was frequently very sharp in the front speakers. Audio sync was not a problem at any stage of this film.

     The musical score was light, bright and supportive, and although those darned 1980s saxophones were in evidence (Kenny G - you have much to answer for), fortunately they didn't steal the entire soundtrack.

     The surround channels were very sparingly used and the subwoofer had apparently taken a sleeping tablet.

Audio Ratings Summary
Audio Sync
Surround Channel Use


     There are no extras on this disc.


     The menu is 16x9, static and silent.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

     There appears to be no distinction between the two Regions in terms of goodies on offer, so local product wins again.


    It's light, it's bright, it's warm, it's fun. A mild and pleasant diversion from more pressing matters, and cheery enough to satisfy.

Ratings (out of 5)


© Mirella Roche-Parker (read my bio)
Monday, December 15, 2003
Review Equipment
DVDSinger SGD-001, using S-Video output
DisplayTeac 76cm Widescreen. Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationTeac 5.1 integrated system
SpeakersTeac 5.1 integrated system

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