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THE GUN IN BETTY LOU’S HANDBAG

     

For Hicksflicks.com, Friday, Aug. 9, 2019

EDITOR’S NOTE: Kino Lorber continues to vacillate in its Blu-ray upgrades of new titles each month between solid well-remembered films that deserve such treatment and failures that might well remain forgotten were it not for the video label’s well-advertised revivals. This is one of the latter, belonging in the dustbin of repressed memories — but here it is, so someone must like it. My review was published in the Deseret News on Aug. 27, 1992.

Despite the more-than-capable cast, "The Gun In Betty Lou's Handbag" isn't merely a genial misfire. It's downright awful.

Penelope Ann Miller (the teacher in "Kindergarten Cop") stars as Betty Lou, a mousy homemaker who is ignored by her husband (Eric Thal, the aspiring rebbe in "A Stranger Among Us").

     

Penelope Ann Miller, "The Gun In Betty Lou's Handbag"

He's a homicide detective investigating the murder of a hood in a local motel. So, when Betty Lou stumbles upon the murder weapon she confesses to the killing just to get his attention.

Lame humor alternates with sadistic violence (some of which is far too rough for the film's PG-13 rating) and music videos are used to pad for time in between desperate, histrionic attempts at humor.

     

There are some very talented people in the cast, including Alfre Woodard as Betty Lou's rookie attorney, Cathy Moriarty as her seasoned cellmate and Julianne Moore (the ill-fated best friend in "The Hand That Rocks the Cradle") as her sister.

But director Allan Moyle ("Pump Up the Volume") doesn't have a clue as to how to make any of this material funny.

“The Gun in Betty Lou’s Handbag” is rated PG-13 for violence, sex and profanity.