|The Gun in Betty Lou's Handbag|
|Directed by||Allan Moyle|
|Produced by||Scott Kroopf|
|Written by||Grace Cary Bickley|
|Music by||Richard Gibbs|
|Edited by||Janice Hampton|
|Distributed by||Buena Vista Pictures|
|August 21, 1992|
The Gun in Betty Lou's Handbag is a 1992 American screwball comedy film directed by Allan Moyle and produced by Scott Kroopf. It stars Penelope Ann Miller, Eric Thal, William Forsythe, Cathy Moriarty and Alfre Woodard. Rock and roll recording pioneer Cordell Jackson played a bit part as "Bathroom Woman".
Betty Lou Perkins is a meek librarian in New Orleans who nobody pays much attention to, in particular her husband, Alex. A criminal kingpin is killed in cold blood, and Betty Lou happens to find the murder gun. She is so mousy, however, that she cannot even get the police to listen to her, including Alex, who is a detective. In sheer frustration, she not only produces the gun, but also announces that she is the one who committed the crime.
Behind bars, Betty Lou meets a variety of hardened and colorful characters. Rather than intimidate her, they actually increase her self-confidence. Once she is released, she begins to dress, speak, and act differently. Unfortunately for her, criminal acquaintances of the victim assume she must have confessed to the murder for a reason. They conclude she must be his mistress, and soon, the bad guys want a few words with her ... or worse.
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The Gun in Betty Lou's Handbag was panned by critics. It holds a 14% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, based on 23 reviews.
Entertainment Weekly, reviewing the film when it was released in home video, gave the film a D+, and called it a "foolish farce".[dead link] The British film magazine Empire gave it (three stars out of five), calling it "watchable" and noting that "Miller is a winning heroine", but characterizing the film as "too busy to be really funny".The Austin Chronicle gave it (two stars out of five): "The cast shines in The Gun in Betty Lou's Handbag; watching these performers, you know this movie would have made for an inspired farce, given better writing and direction."