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My Cousin Vinny Movie Review (8/10)

Posted on August 11th, 2003 filed in Movie Reviews    |   

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While driving through Alabama to their spring break, a series of coincidences lands two ‘yuts’ (youths) in jail, accused of murder. Unable to afford a ‘real’ attorney, Bill and Stan decide to have Vinny (Joe Pesci), Bill’s cousin, defend them. Vinny has never won a case before and it took him 7 years of trying to finally pass his bar exam. Vinny jumps on the opportunity and heads to Alabama from New York accompanied by his fiancee, Mona Lisa (Marisa Tomei).


My Cousin Vinny is a hilarious and very entertaining movie thanks to a clever (must ignore the plot holes) and funny script and excellent performances by Pesci and Tomei. Marisa ended up nabbing an Academy award for ‘Best Supporting Actress’ (The most controversial award in the history of oscars as it was claimed that Jack Palance, the then award presenter, was drunk and called her name by mistake, something Marisa refers to as a cruel rumour by one of the other award nominees).

Joe Pesci is at his funniest and ‘Vinny’ is quite a departure from his prior very serious roles (He won the academy award as ‘Best Supporting Actor’ for his role in ‘The Untouchabldes’ during the fiming of this movie). He excells as the New Yorkian clashing with all around him in Ala-****ing-bama: The language (‘Yuts’), the judge, the legal proceeding (suit) , the inability to find a place to sleep quietly, and the scarcity of items on the restaurant menu (‘What is grits’?). His first meeting with Stan while Bill is sleeping is one of funniest scenes in this film. His court antics are priceless.

Tomei herself shines as the smart-assed, heavily-brooklyn-accented, overbearing but very loving and supportive, girlfriend. It was quite amazing as a matter of fact to see her sudden metamorphosis into a know-it-all auto mechanic in a key scene in the movie. It is worth noting in this regard that her court testimony was taken ad-verbatim from actual court transcripts.

The highlight of the movie remains of course the whole scene about the biological clock ticking with her stomping her foot for added affect. Quite an unforgettable classic.

The district attorney and the judge roles are also played skillfully and both add to the portrayal of the inhabitants of that small town in Alabama.

Overall, My Cousin Vinny, is a delightful, entertaining, pleasant, smart, and very well acted comedy that is funny throughout and hilarious at times. It is one of the best comedies out there and is highly recommended. It is rated R in the USA for crude language.

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