Two New Yorkers are accused of murder in rural Alabama while on their way back to college, and one of their cousins--an inexperienced, loudmouth lawyer not accustomed to Southern rules and manners--comes in to defend them.
Bill Gambini and Stanley Rothenstein are two friends from New York University who just received scholarships to UCLA. They decide to drive through the South. Once they arrive in Alabama, they stop at a local convenience store to pick up a few snacks. But, no sooner than they leave the store, they are arrested. They had thought that they were arrested for shoplifting, but they were arrested for murder and robbery. Worse, they are facing execution for this crime. Bill and Stan do not have enough money for a lawyer, so the good news is that Bill has a lawyer in his family, his cousin, Vincent Laguardia Gambini. The bad news is that Vinny is an inexperienced lawyer who has not been at a trial. So, Vinny has to defend his clients and battle an uncompromising judge, some tough locals, and even his fiancée, Mona Lisa Vito, who just does not know when to shut up, to prove his clients' innocence. But he will soon realize that he is going to need help. Written by
When the preliminary hearing is being conducted, a door to the right rear of the witness is open, and a photograph may be seen hanging on the wall. The picture is of William Randolph Hearst, a somewhat odd choice to hang in a courthouse. See more »
Mona Lisa Vito:
Don't you wanna know why Trotter gave you his files?
I told you why already.
Mona Lisa Vito:
He has to, by law, you're entitled. It's called disclosure, you dickhead! He has to show you everything, otherwise it could be a mistrial. He has to give you a list of all his witnesses, you can talk to all his witnesses, he's not allowed any surprises.
[Vinny has a blank look on his face]
Mona Lisa Vito:
They didn't teach you that in law school either?
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My Cousin Vinny is one of the most brilliant comedies ever produced. There is simply so much to love about this movie.
First, this is not simply a slapstick comedy. Sure, there is some of that, including a few hilarious moments in the Alabama mud. But the dialogue in this film is terrifically funny. The writers were able to turn a courtroom script into an incredibly funny exchange of dialogue between lawyers, judges and witnesses. And the whole idea of an out-of-work hairdresser knowing about Positraction is simply brilliant.
This dialogue is brilliant because of excellent performances by both Marisa Tomei and Joe Pesci. These two sell this whole load of nonsense so beautifully it should be mandatory viewing for first-year drama students. These two actors show how talented people can read practically anything and make it not only funny but wholly believable.
Even all the side characters, from the judge to the D.A. to the defendants to the jury and witnesses are brilliantly played. Some of the exchanges between a local Alabama judge and a NYC poser lawyer would be completely ridiculous in anyone else's hands, but these people make it so real and so funny it's truly a thing of beauty.
This is one of those rare films that I can watch over and over again for hours and not tire of it.
10 out of 10 Barky
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