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
Some people really do lack a sense of humor and take life way too seriously. These are the people that will complain that this movie is not funny. The rest of us will find at least some genuine funny moments. In my case, I found several. My Cousin Vinny is a movie that I will play to cheer me up because it's hard to feel down while watching it.
Joe Pesci who scared the hell out of us as Tommy Devito in Goodfellas takes on the role of wise cracking, inexperienced attorney Vincent Gambini. He is wonderfully matched with the nagging, street smart, and charming Maria Tomei as his girlfriend Mona. The two hard core New Yorkers wind up in rural Alabama to defend Vincent's cousin (Ralph Macchio) and friend on robbery and murder charges. There are plenty of funny moments created from the culture clash between the "yankees" and the southerners ranging from the fascination with grits to the colorful colloquialisms used by each. Some of the best moments involve the exchanges between no non-sense Judge Haller (Fred Gwynne) and Vincent who he can't understand due to his New York accent. However, this film does not rely on stereotypical southern slapstick comedy. It is actually smart and there's a real plot involving a court case that all but looks clear cut until Vincent and his girlfriend begin looking at the evidence. I love all the court room scenes and Pesci and Tomei have great chemistry.
This movie is truly underrated; although Tomei did earn an Academy Award for her role in this film. I highly recommend it to those of us with a funny bone!
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