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.
Jimmy Alto is an actor wannabe who stumbles into the role of a lifetime. He becomes a vigilante crime-fighter, aided by his sidekick William, who has suffered a head wound and has problems ... See full summary »
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
Although set in Alabama the film was actually shot in Georgia. See more »
Near the end of the movie, Judge Haller walks out of his office, and the sign on the door says "Probate Court". A Probate Judge would never conduct a criminal trial; murder trials in Alabama (and most states) are always conducted by Circuit Judges. See more »
[about his secondhand suit, which has an 18th-century look and is red]
I bought a suit. You seen it. Now it's covered in mud. This town doesn't have a one hour cleaner so I had to buy a new suit, except the only store you could buy a new suit in has got the flu. Got that? The whole store got the flu so I had to get this in a second hand store. So it's either wear the leather jacket, which I know you hate, or this. So, I wore this ridiculous thing for you.
Judge Chamberlain Haller:
Are you on drugs?
No. I don't do drugs.
Judge Chamberlain Haller:
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Brooklyn lawyer Pesci tries to save the "two yutes" from frying in the electric chair. Classic!
"My Cousin Vinny," along with the megahit "Goodfellas," put Pesci on the map. Of course, he's been in the Scorcese's previous hit "Raging Bull," but didn't get a hell of a lot of recognition at the time. Joe Pesci's character of Vincent LaGuardia Gambini is a landmark character in comedy history. When his New Yauker street smarts collide with Southern hospitality--brilliant fish-out-of-water humor ensues!
Of course, Pesci should've be given all the credit. Marisa Tomei, who RIGHTFULLY won the Supporting Oscar for her excellent performance (please don't believe that urban myth about Jack Palance calling out the wrong name!!), is hilarious as Pesci's fiance with a foul mouth, a smart a**, the heaviest Brooklyn accent and an incredible expertise in automobiles. This was also the movie that made Marisa a star, and a performance I commend to this day.
What can I say? This movie has some of the most priceless bits of comedy. One, of course, involves Pesci's pronunciation of the word "youth" which sounds like "yute." One underrated bit is the one where Pesci first meets his cousin's friend (Mitchell Whitfield) in the jail cell. His cousin (Ralph Macchio) is asleep and Pesci suddenly pays the friend a visit. He doesn't know Pesci is the lawyer, and assumes he's some guy who...wants to make him his b**ch. The comic dialogue in that scene is so perfectly executed and I feel it's one of the funniest in the movie. I'm not going to give away any more of the film's slick, intelligent humor--You have to see it for yourself!!!
If you're in the mood for a smart, well-written, well-acted comedy that will have you on the floor--look no further! "My Cousin Vinny" doesn't disappoint in any of those aspects. This is a truly memorable piece of comedy, and though it was released in 1992, I'm sure comedy lovers will pay homage to this movie in the present day.
My score: 8 (out of 10)
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