My Cousin Vinny is a comedy about two young guys, Bill and Stan, who are on a road trip when they get arrested in Alabama for a murder they didn’t commit, and so they turn to Bill’s cousin Vinny, who is a lawyer, but he has never been in court and so is very much out of his element in a murder trial, and so he struggles to prove their innocence against overwhelming evidence. It’s the classic ‘wrong place at the wrong time’ story. It is directed by Jonathan Lynn and stars Joe Pesci, Marisa Tomei, Ralph Macchio, Mitchell Whitfield and Fred Gwynne, and is an entertaining film.
As a comedy , the film obviously has to be funny, and I’m happy to say that it is. The film is fun and has some very funny moments. The story, while not complicated, is well written and well paced and I wasn’t bored at all. Joe Pesci (Vinny) and Marsia Tomei (his fiancé Mona) steal the film. Pesci brings good comedic timing and whit, playing the confident amatuer with an attitude and a sharp whit who initially fumbles his way through the case, but progressively comes into his element. Tomei brings a lot of attitude and sweetness who is also a smart and strong character, being the much smarter one in the relationship, and together the pair have some touching and serious moments as well as funny ones. Pesci is a fun lead and makes the film what it is, I don’t think the film would work without him. Fred Gwynne (Judge Chamberlain) is also good as the straight man to Pesci’s joker.
Unfortunately the film had a big weakness in my opinion, and that is in Ralph Macchio (Bill) and Mitchell Whitfield (Stan). They play the guys wrongly convicted and I found them to be very weak. They just never seemed to care that they where on death row for murder, there performances had no layers, they never seemed distressed or even concerned or scared! There on death row for murder and have never been to prison before but they’re playing basketball in the prison courtyard as if nothings wrong! I get that the films a comedy and not Shawshank Redemption so I wasn’t expecting heart breaking performances from them but they made it feel like there where no stakes because they acted like there where no stakes! The Films premise is reliant on them and they do not deliver.
But despite them the film is still a lot of fun and and Pesci and Tomei make this a film worth watching. I enjoyed this film very much overall.
P.S. I didn’t realise till now but Marisa Tomei won best actress in a supporting role, which is cool.