Writer: Dale Launer (Screenplay)
Starring: Joe Pesci, Ralph Macchio, Marisa Tomei, Mitchell Whitfield, Fred Gwynne, Lane Smith, Austin Pendleton
Plot: 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.
Tagline – Truth, Justice And The Gambini Way.
Runtime: 2 Hours
There may be spoilers in the rest of the review
Verdict: Great Fun Comedy
Story: My Cousin Vinny starts when two college students Bill Gambini (Macchio) and Stan Rothenstein (Whitfield) are accused of murdering a local store clerk in Alabama, the two need to find a lawyer fast with the only family member they know in law Vinny Gambini (Pesci) a new lawyer in his first case ever.
As Vinny steps into court it becomes clear he doesn’t understand what is going on in a courtroom, getting on the bad side of the judge (Gwynne), he needs to learn quickly and to add more pressure onto him, his fiancée Mona Lisa (Tomei) wants to get married and she seems to be the best one when it comes to knowing the law.
Thoughts on My Cousin Vinny
Characters – Vinny Gambini is fresh out of law school called upon to help a family member on a murder trial, he isn’t used to being in a courtroom which is easy to see from the first visit, he gets on the judges bad side and his law experience isn’t like what the rest of the court is prepared for. He takes every hit coming his way, waiting for his chance to shine even after he just can’t get any sleep. Bill Gambini is one of the two students that gets accused of murder, he believes he has just being pulled over for forgetting to pay for some tuna and only finds himself needing his cousin to come and help him. Mona Lisa is Vinny’s fiancée, she is willing to support Vinny through the case believing he can win, while waiting for him to finally set a date for their wedding. Stan is the fellow suspect that isn’t so sure whether to trust Vinny or not.
Performances – Joe Pesci is wonderful in this leading role, bringing his quick-talking style and show his ability to bring comedy to his character. Marisa Tomei makes her supporting performance wonderful making an impact when she gets her chance to shine. Ralph Macchio and Mitchell Whitfield are both strong enough in the supporting role without having to do much.
Story – The story here follows a new fast-talking lawyer that must defend his cousin on a murder charge that he clearly didn’t do only to need to think fast when the case looks completely closed against them. This is a story that shows that family will come to help somebody in need and shows how certain laws could go quickly to answers instead of investigating the case. We see how law can be twisted to push people either way and end up just being a fun courtroom story to watch. Most of these types of movies we know the suspects are innocent and we just need to see how they can be saved which this one does keep us guessing to what happens.
Comedy/Crime – The comedy in this film comes solely from Joe Pesci for his troubles sleeping and his reaction to everything going on in this town. The crime side of the film shows just what the student have been accused of doing.
Settings – The film is set in a small Alabama town who like to finish the case quickly without needing to look at potential options. It is clearly somewhere which Vinny would never live in.
Final Thoughts – This is a fun courtroom comedy that focuses on the idea this lawyer isn’t ready for this size case and needs to prove himself.
Overall: Entertaining throughout.