The Gun in Betty Lou's Handbag

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"She was a nobody until someone found..."
  • PG-13
  • 1992
  • 5.0  (1,784)

The Gun in Betty Lou's Handbag is a crime comedy film from 1992 directed by Allan Moyle. The movie stars Penelope Ann Miller as Betty Lou Perkins, a small-town librarian who is admired for being meek and mild by everyone in her town. Betty Lou is often talked down to and disregarded by the people around her, making her feel invisible and powerless in many situations. However, all of that changes when a series of events transpire, leading Betty Lou to find herself at the center of attention in the town.

One day, after leaving work late, Betty Lou is accosted by a group of school kids who attempt to mug her. In the ensuing scuffle, one of the kids drops a pistol into Betty Lou's bag without her realizing it. The following day, the town wakes up to news of an actual shooting, and the police are on high alert to find the shooter. In the midst of the chaos, Betty Lou discovers the gun hidden in her purse and promptly goes to the police with it. However, instead of being hailed as a hero, Betty Lou faces accusations that she was the one who pulled the trigger in the shooting.

As Betty Lou is questioned by the police, she finds herself becoming more and more frustrated by the way she is treated, with no one believing her innocence. She decides to take matters into her own hands and begins to investigate the shooting herself, determined to clear her name. Betty Lou's unlikely journey from meek librarian to amateur detective is both comedic and suspenseful, as she follows clues and meets a cast of eccentric characters along the way.

One standout performance in the movie is that of Alfre Woodard as attorney Ann Orkin. Orkin is a tough-talking lawyer who takes on Betty Lou's case, determined to prove her innocence in court. However, it soon becomes apparent that Orkin has her own reasons for getting involved, leading to a surprising reveal later in the film. Eric Thal also delivers an engaging performance as Alex, a journalist who becomes involved in Betty Lou's case and whose motives are also unclear at times.

Overall, The Gun in Betty Lou's Handbag is an entertaining blend of comedy and mystery, anchored by Penelope Ann Miller's charming portrayal of the titular character. Betty Lou's transformation from a pushover to a self-assured woman who stands up for herself is a satisfying arc, and the film's unique premise and colorful supporting characters make for an engaging watch.

The Gun in Betty Lou's Handbag
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    5.0  (1,784)