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
A sequel was discussed where Vinny Gambini would be practicing in Britain. Unfortunately, Marisa Tomei dropped out of the project, and subsequent attempts with another screenwriter to create a suitable story without her character went nowhere to the point where the proposed film was canceled. However, in 2017 mystery writer Lawrence Kelter began a sequel novel called "Back to Brooklyn," which has the further cases of Vincent Gambini as an attorney with Mona Lisa Vito serving as his investigator. This was intended as the first of a "My Cousin Vinny" novel series which is intended to be essentially a modern working class Italian-American version of The Thin Man (1934) mystery series. See more »
When the courtroom is waiting for Vinny to appear, the jury box is completely empty. Vinny then arrives and explains his awful tux and why he was late. In the following shot, when the judge calls for the prosecutions opening statement, the entire jury is present and seated. The transition between shots may be assumed to represent the passage of time, but the scene seems continuous, and it seems that the jury "magically" appears. 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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The Australian TV version cuts out several lines of dialogue and the scene "Imagine you're a deer...." to get a PG rating. The video and cable versions are unaltered. See more »
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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