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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
"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)
Underrated. I won't belabor relating and describing the plot, because
that's been recited nicely by numerous others. I'll simply return to my
one word point. Underrated. Even though Marisa Tomei broke through and
won Best Supporting Actress at the Academy Awards for her performance,
an award she earned and much deserved, I still say underrated. This
film really never got on the public's radar the way it should have,
probably because there are no big-name actors featured as box office
draw. Joe Pesci was as good as it gets that way. In 1991 he was the
hottest name in the cast. But has Joes Pesci ever established himself
as a leading man who could carry a movie by himself? I ask that in
open-ended wonderment, and certainly not disparagingly. Just asking, is
it fair, has it ever been fair, to expect Joe Pesci to carry a film?
Regardless of Joe Pesci's latent starpower, this cast of players as assembled possessed remarkable chemistry in the performances they gave, not only in their interactions with one another, but also in the creation of a final product that excels way beyond the sum of its parts, beyond any of their individual levels of genius, certainly beyond anything that could ever have been reasonably expected of them. Competent though they may have been, these were not thespian heavyweights or comedic savants. You ever wonder why this singular performance 15+ years ago and counting remains Marisa Tomei's magnum opus? That might be one big reason why. The Germans have a word for this. It's called gestalt.
My inclination is to give most of the credit for this winning final product to director Jonathan Lynn. It seems obviously to be his creation. Who else singularly deserves it? Along the way it would have been such a cheap trick and easy thing to surrender to the obvious, but Lynn didn't do it. This is a story built around stereotypes. New Yorkers. Ethnic Italian New Yorkers. Southerners. Small town southerners. Southern justice. Southern small town justice with New York Italians in the dock. It would have been so easy to traffic in those stereotypes, to over-the-top cash in on them, to submerge the movie in them and to exploit them for all they were worth. These people could have been made into cardboard cartoons of themselves. Surely the Englishman Lynn was thusly tempted, but it was a temptation he mainly resisted. Oh, almost obligatorily, he dances us over to that edge and gives us a big whiff of all that, but instead of jumping in and wallowing in the stereotypes, he deftly pulls it back and carries it all off and away in a new and different direction, indeed in an uplifting direction. Just as there are no cheap tricks in this movie, there are no cheap shots either. People are not ridiculed for who they are or where they are from. It rises above that. Lynn raises it above that. Yes, the regional differences that exist are juxtaposed. And yes, we get the fact that cultural differences divide these characters. But the beauty of it is that no one is treated unfairly. In fact, the viewer comes away with the feeling that these are all good people.
Joe Pesci and Marisa Tomei are given a broad canvas to create great humorous art, bouncing one, two, three liners or more off of each other, at the other's expense. It's the game they play with each other, the nature of their characters' relationship, and it's fun to watch. And this must be said: not only does Marisa give an exquisite performance, she is an utterly delightful feminine creature to watch here. As for the southerners, in not taking the bait to exploit the southerners as dumb hicks, Lynne actually captures part of the true but rarely portrayed essence of the south: polite gentility. Lane Smith embodies that essence. And Fred Gwynne? He practically steals the show, and would have were it not for Marisa Tomei.
What has been going through Joe Pesci's and Marisa Tomei's heads for the last 15 years? What is wrong with their agents? These two needed a sequel. If not a sequel, then more film(s) together. The dynamic between them was too good to just be abandoned. We should have been treated to much more of them together.
As a trial lawyer let me say that the portrayal of courtroom events, while certainly not perfect, is more than adequate and passable. One thing that is accurately captured is the fish-out-of-water experience of a city lawyer when subjected to trying a case in a far-flung rural county. This depicton conveys the essence of what that's like.
This movie deserves more recognition. It is clever, funny, and fun. I recommend it. If you haven't seen it, do yourself a favor and indulge yourself.
This was the best way for Joe Pesci to follow up GOODFELLAS and JFK. Those
two were ultra-serious roles for him and to forray into comedy was perfect.
It was a perfect role, perfect timing and a perfect opportunity to show
people that he could play something other than the heavy or the bad guy.
COUSIN VINNY is really just a distant cousin of his character in Goodfellas
anyway. Just imagine one of the guys in Goodfellas that didn't want to
follow in the footsteps of the rest of the gangsters and this is him.
is a foul mouthed, sometime violent, insecure but smart man. He went to
school but took six attempts before he passed the bar. They are definitely
similar characters. The difference is that Goodfellas was a serious film
with a funny side and My Cousin Vinny is an absolutely hilarious film with
somewhat serious side.
What makes the film work as well as it does, is many things. First of all you have the fish out of water scenario with Vinny and his fiancee Lisa, wearing leather jackets and cowboy boots down in the south where it seems everyone is wearing overalls and they hang out in establishments where their best selling feature is chicken and pool.
You also have a great supporting cast that features Lane Smith as a very animated D.A. that has to hammer home every point to his jury like they were morons. He says the word "truth" is a word that comes down from England where all of our ancestors come, and looking at him incredulously is some of the black jury members. Fred Gwynne supplies some of the best comedy for the film with his constant badgering of Vinny. Everything from his suit, to his enunciation of words like "youts", to his court room impropriety to his just plain dislike of him. Gwynne and Pesci are so opposite as people. Gwynne being a giant of a man with a southern drawl and a long, virile face while Pesci is a short man with a distinct New Yawk slur and a pudgy, baby looking face. They are complete opposites and much of the hilarity comes from their inability to see eye to eye on many things.
It also has to said that Marisa Tomei is brilliant in this film. There are people out there that try to demean her Oscar triumph that year because the favourite did not win like anticipated. But her performance here is nothing short of Oscar worthy. She is a gifted actress and her comedic timing in this film is bang on, or as she would say, " dead on balls accurate. "
This is one of the funnier films to come out in the 90's and it is well worth seeing again.
9 out of 10
I can watch this film over and over again. Joe Pesci plays Vincent LaGuardia Gambini, a Brooklyn lawyer who is asked to defend his cousin and friend from a murder charge in Alabama. Marisa Tomei as Mona Lisa Vito, Vinny's girlfriend, deserved the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress, rare for a comedy to even be nominated for anything by AMPAS. I really liked Fred Gwynne as the no-nonsense Judge Chamberlain Haller, a great foil for Joe Pesci's laid back, easy going Brooklyn wise guy. Even his name, Chamberlain Haller, evokes seriousness. A lot of fun, especially the courtroom antics of Pesci. Highly recommended.
Definitely one of my all-time favorite comedies. Well directed, well acted -- priceless comic performances by Pesci, Tomei, Gwynne & Austin Pendleton. And more than comedy -- there's also a lot of genuine pathos and real tension and drama, especially in the final courtroom scene. And I really don't understand the "controversy" or brouhaha over Marisa Tomei receiving the Best Supporting Actress Oscar for her role in this movie. It's a crackerjack gem of a performance and a stellar comic portrayal. The only thing I can figure is that a lot of snobbery about serious dramatic portrayals somehow being more worthy of honor than great comic performances still very much lives on in much of the film community.
MY COUSIN VINNY is just one of those "feel good" movies delivering some grins that won't wash away. An excellent cast includes Joe Pesci in one of his best roles as a hotshot lawyer. Expect a few unbelievable surprises from the irresistible guy who's smart enough to make one hilarious movie after another. He is downright likeable, and so is Marisa Tomei, a sassy and stylish figurine who was amazingly superb to take home the Best Actress Oscar. Both Pesci and Tomei have the colorful wits and personalities to make a wild pair for themselves (almost like living in the 50s for sure!). Also, the movie's best moment arises when a freight train disturbs Pesci's sleep at five in the morning. The deep downside is the latter portion: a climatic courtroom scene that, while up to the point of interest, runs terribly long and weak....until one of the film's cast members gets into the act! Still, it's worth plenty of good gags and good laughs that aren't so bugging. Pesci would look terrific in a torn-up leather jacket in front of the judge, to his ultimate disgrace! Smart comedy is smart thinking after all.
My Cousin Vinny was a great movie. I borrowed this film from a friend
but had no idea what it really was but just knowing Joe Pesci, Ralph
Macchio, and Marisa Tomei were starring in it. After seeing it, I
really liked it. It was a funny movie. There were tons of laughs and I
never knew it was going to be this funny but mainly Joe Pesci as Vinny
was hilarious. He had the best role in this movie out of anyone but
Marisa Tomei as Vinny's fiancée and Fred Gwynne as the judge did
wonderful. I was surprised how good the movie was and overall it really
entertained me. I highly recommend the film.
Hedeen's Outlook: 8.5/10 ***+ B+
Two dim-wits from New York (Ralph Macchio and Mitchell Whitfield) become the victims of circumstance in the deep south in this hilarious courtroom farce. Macchio knows that his one hope is the titled character (the priceless Joe Pesci) and his red hot girlfriend (Marisa Tomei in a well-deserved Oscar-winning turn). The two use street smarts to show the small-town folks that the case is not as cut-and-dried as it seems. 4 stars out of 5.
This is the first film I have seen where Pesci is the lead role and he
proved to sore beyond what his talents are, he's definitely one of the
most under rated actors of all time, I feel like he's Hollywood's
hidden secret weapon. :) I had heard a lot about My Cousin Vinny, I
know this was the movie that won Marissa's Oscar and not to mention I
heard how funny it was. My Cousin Vinny turned into a very intelligent
and great comedic story.
It's about two boys who have been accused of murder, with a lot of pressing evidence against them that can get them executed, but one of the boy's cousins, Vinny, is a lawyer, well, just graduated and starting his first six weeks. Not to mention, he's never fought a trial or murder case. Vinny has also brought along his Brooklyn talking fiancée, Mona Lisa Vito. With little experience and getting into a web of lies, Vinny must learn that good arguing is not just what will help, but he also has to learn how to be a lawyer.
Joe and Marissa absolutely steal the show. I think my favorite part was when Mona Lisa was on the stand talking about which cars were involved in the murder case, she just got into a fight with Vinny and she refuses to help him, but she does and he kisses her hand and you can tell they made up, but it's just their looks that are just plain priceless! Everything about this film could make anyone laugh and make them fall in love with Joe Pecsi, he's just so awesome!
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