This movie starts out looking like other tales of New Yorkers traveling through the South, being falsely charged with murder and then having a sham trial. The age of the cars indicates that the time is the mid sixties, although the prominent role blacks have in the jury and law enforcement would place the time at least two decades later. Joe Pesci plays a lawyer with dubious legal credentials who drives down to Alabama to defend his cousin and his cousin's friend. At first, Pesci comes across as a city bumpkin, totally in over his head, both legally and culturally. However, as the story unfolds, he proves his mettle as a lawyer. His courtroom performance at the end is very effective, although the last part of the trial is dominated by the performance of Marisa Tomei. It is obvious why she won an Oscar for best supporting actress. This movie was billed as a comedy, but I do not see it as that. I would classify it as a semi-serious look at the legal system, where a man who has struggled for years to become a lawyer manages to find it within himself to be a great one.
North vs South as a green New Yawk lawyer who finally passed the bar goes down south to defend a family member and his friend from a murder charge with some pretty stiff evidance. Gets good mileage out of the material without being insulting to either side but takes a little too long in it's set up and could have gotten more jokes into the running time. Fred Gwenne had his final role and one of his best as the stern judge.
When you stop to think about it , most of the courtroom movies that have been made over the years are dramas. "To Kill A Mockingbird", "Judgement At Nuremburg", "Kramer vs. Kramer" and "Inherit The Wind" are some of the movies that come to mind. 1992's hilarious "My Cousin Vinny" turns that formula upside down. Here is one of the funniest movies in recent memory. Billy Gambini (played by Ralph … more
This is one excellent light hearted comedy. Although the storyline gets a little bit far fetched, who really notices with all the funny lines and sight gags. Fred Gwynne is so cool as the hometown judge. Joe Pesci and Marissa Tomei add spunk and spice to the sleepy muddy town of Alabama where the trial is set. The conflict between the Old South and Italian Brooklyn comes to a funny peak when Pesci refers to the boys on trial as the two Yutes! Gwynne's reaction is just priceless. Anyway, for a barrell … more
Pros: hilarious, Tomei and Pesci Cons: a little long, extraneous plot twist Just looking at Marisa Tomei and Joe Pesci in "My Cousin Vinny" makes me laugh. And when they speak, I laugh harder. This movie is definitely one of the funniest films produced in the past ten years. Two boys on a road trip in Alabama are pulled over after buying groceries at a roadside store. The paranoid NYU graduates speculate that people … more
Charlie Ashbacher is a compulsive reader and writer about many subjects. His prime areas of expertise are in mathematics and computers where he has taught every course in the mathematics and computer … more
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When two Italian-American boys from New York are falsely accused of murder in a small Alabama town, they call for a lawyer--but the only lawyer they know is their cousin Vinny (Joe Pesci), who made six attempts before he passed his bar exam.My Cousin Vinnyis a classic fish-out-of-water comedy; the flimsy plot about clearing the two boys and solving the murder is just a hook to support a lot of culture-clash humor. Thanks to the strong cast of character actors like Fred Gwynne, Austin Pendleton, and Lane Smith, it's pretty funny--even old-hat jokes about Brooklyn versus Southern accents come to life. Pesci has played a few too many schticky characters, but this time it works. There's just enough humanity in his caricature to make Vinny likable and entertaining. When the movie was released, there was controversy about whether Marisa Tomei, playing Vinny's big-haired and black-leather-wearing fiancée, deserved to win the best supporting actress Oscar (she beat out Judy Davis, Joan Plowright, Miranda Richardson, and Vanessa Redgrave); but seeing her performance on its own, it's a comic marvel and worthy of honor.--Bret Fetzer