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
In the climactic scene where Mona Lisa was brought to the court as an expert witness in automotive general knowledge, it has been noted that Vinny had an alternative if Mona Lisa hadn't cooperated on the stand, or she was disqualified by the court as an expert. Namely, while it is discouraged by standard attorney ethics in most situations, the rules of court would have allowed Vinny to take the stand himself to testify as an expert in general automotive knowledge because he could not have anticipated at the beginning of the trial that such knowledge would be relevant. See more »
During the arraignment Judge Haller beckons Vinny to the bench with his left index finger. When the camera changes from in front of to behind the judge he is then instantaneously beckoning with the left index and middle fingers. See more »
[to the jury]
Hey, how ya doin'?
Mr. Crane, what are these pictures of?
My house and stuff.
House and stuff. And what is this brown stuff on your window?
Dirt. And what is this rusty, dusty, dirty-looking thing that's covering your window?
That's a screen.
A screen! It's a screen. And what are these really big things that are right in the middle of your view of the Sac-o-Suds and your kitchen window, what do we call these big things?
[...] See more »
One version that aired on television omitted the entire subplot of Vinny making a deal with a pool player, and the scene where Vinny finds out there is a slaughterhouse next to one motel they stay in. References that Vinny makes to both these elements are cut out from his rant to Lisa about all the trouble he's going through for his court case. See more »
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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