on June 23, 2004
Subtly employing the city mouse/country mouse theme, MY COUSIN VINNY is a light-hearted courtroom comedy. While it occasionally stoops to some stereotyping, the movie doesn't do so mean-spiritedly. In any event, both sides get equal skewering.
Vinny Gambini, brilliantly portrayed by Joe Pesci, is a Brooklyn boy who has finally passed the Bar (after repeated failures) and now finds himself defending his nephew and his nephew's friend against murder charges in the Bible Belt. Along with his too beautiful fiancee, played by Academy Award Winner Marissa Tomei, Pesci investigates the southern style of life, as he fathoms southern courtroom procedures and tries to get some sleep. The resulting clash of cultures is sometimes predictable, but honestly, is very inventive for the most part.
The comedy of the court room scenes is heightened by the late Fred Gwynne who plays the presiding judge. His by-the-book habits and short-fused temper are a perfect foil to Vinny's laconic style. It is their interaction that feeds most of the cultural clashing. But there is also a clash of the sexes that underlies the film, as Vinny stubbornly refuses the help of his fiancee. This confrontation is also highlighted in the courtroom when the DA refuses to believe that she could possibly be considered an expert in automechanics, even though her brothers, her father, her uncles, and just about everyone else in her family are expert mechanics. (The DA becomes convinced in a wonderful cross-interview scene.)
MY COUSIN VINNY was both critically well-received and a huge box-office success. There's a reason for that: it is a well-written, well-directed and perfectly acted comedy that stands up well even after repeated viewings. See it for yourself and you'll understand why, too.
I believe this to be one of those 90s comedies we all love, so the BD transfer was a nice addition to see come over. Playing it in the store today reminded everyone how fun the film was, but the obvious preservation work made for a nice sell on how these older films should be done.
The colors and clarity were actually cleaned up well, with the artifact being random to where there was no real detraction. The credit sequences looked solid, which for some of these 90s block letter credits the BD transfers can leave in horrible grain. With how they did Tomei's makeup in this, there could have been plenty of chances for a dull saturation look, but in actuality it turned out looking great.
The sound is what sold me though. They mixed and re-amplified it into a 5.1 DTS that rocked the channels. The train scenes were excellent and that owl made customers do a double take. The supplements suck though. They included a variety of trailers from theater and TV, but in that it does show how the original stock looked compared to this upgrade. The commentary was fine, but I was hoping for some visual treats. Instead, the film will have to stand alone for buying the Blu. The menu shows a cleaned up reel also and the navigation was simple. Enjoy.
on September 12, 2005
First of all: "My Cousin Vinny" (1992), is one of the funniest film I've ever seen! After the first ten minutes you can't stop laughing. You'll be able only to graduate from roaring outbursts to moderate laugh.
Jonathan Lynn has many skills in the cinematographic world: he is actor, director and playwright. As director this is, arguably, his best work. When making this film, it seems he was touched by a magic wand for comedic tempos. It is a pity he hasn't reached the same level with his other films, still there are some quite good as "Nuns on the Run" (1990) and "The Distinguished Gentleman" (1992).
This is the story of two New York youngsters wrongly accused of murder in Alabama. They are broken and endangered but Billy resorts to his Cousin Vinny, who's supposedly an experienced attorney.
Well... he isn't experienced, but he is faithful to family obligation and show up with his fiancée to help his relative.
The Court is commanded by Judge Chamberlain Haller inflexible and punctilious.
The rest of the movie shows the confrontation between Judge & Attorney, giving place to a series of hilarious scenes.
Joe Pesci, Marisa Tomei and Fred Gwynne flesh the three main characters producing outstanding alchemy for audience's delight.
Pesci is a purebred comedian and his characterization of a New Yorker confused by Southern etiquette is just a riot.
Beautiful Marisa Tomei earned an Oscar with her joyful play-acting.
Last but not least Fred Gwynne is a Judge full of irony and subtleties.
This movie is an excellent pastime, I wholeheartedly recommend it.
Reviewed by Max Yofre.
I cautiously first went to see "My Cousin Vinny" when Marisa Tomei won the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress, because--unlike many people--I don't like Joe Pesci. I still don't like Joe Pesci, BUT the role of Vincent LaGuardia Gambini in "My Cousin Vinny" is perfect for him, and his performance is stellar. For me Joe Pesci is Vincent Gambini and Vincent Gambini is Joe Pesci. And, it was my opinion when I first saw "My Cousin Vinny," as it is now after watching the DVD I just got, that Marisa Tomei more than deserved the Oscar. It is my opinion, moreover, that many times award winning performances are discredited by viewers because the actor is performing so well that it appears they are not acting at all. (Please note that I count myself among those who see the Oscars as politically driven; so, when I agree with them--which is seldom--I am truly standing up to be counted).
The product description does a fair job of describing the story outline; although it hardly makes "My Cousin Vinny" sound nearly as funny as it is. But the movie is about more than two kids from the city mistakenly arrested for murder in (the implicitly implied "redneck") Alabama. The film is a light-hearted study of culture clashes, where all characters have stereotypical traits and stereotype the other characters themselves. The movie is also about assumptions--along with the inherent danger of such--and how the "meaning" of these assumptions vary with regards to experience and socialization. "My Cousin Vinny" also examines gender roles--and it is here that Tomei shines--and education/science versus experience and common knowledge. But, most importantly, "My Cousin Vinny" demonstrates the importance of "doing the right thing," regardless of the consequences (and in some cases the legality of the action). Pesci's character finally "gets it," and is able to find his way; but only through the assistance of Tomei's character and the trust of Billy Gambini (inconsistently performed by Ralph Macchio).
As for the other reviewer's triad about the language in this DVD version of the movie, as compared to the bleeped television version, I have these comments: 1) the movie is rated "R," which should have informed you about the probability of profanity; 2) while it may seem like there is a lot of profanity in the movie, it is completely applicable to the way these characters would actually speak--and I suspect that there is actually less profanity than it sounds like; 3) when "My Cousin Vinny" was made (1992), most movies were moving towards increased use of profanity--especially "R" rated movies; and 4) is overt profanity that much worse than suggested or ribald "comedy?" Moreover, just how does the sudden inclusion of (generally appropriately used) profanity into any dialog--films or otherwise--change the humor or make it no longer funny? In fact, I personally hear just as much, if not more, profanity used by children, teenagers, adults, and seniors at the store than in the movie; which I believe is gross misuse of profanity, but is the way of life today. For me, and I am sure many others, a great funny movie, is a great funny movie in spite of the language. Remember, there was a day when movies couldn't even rely on language to be funny.
Now for the mystery I am having trouble understanding: Why is this version of the DVD/VHS not being lumped together with the other versions with regards to reviews? To date (12 June 2008), there is only one review listed for this version, while there are 129 reviews for the other version currently available. This is so uncharacteristic of Amazon! And, in near ultimate irony, it appears that there is no difference between this version and the other "lower priced" (I got mine when it was sale) version, other than the fact that this version has a gold cardboard slipcase (the box inside is exactly like the other one) and the listing has the wrong actors!
Update--1 July 2008: If this review was not helpful to you, I would appreciate learning the reason(s) so I can improve my reviews. My goal is to provide help to potential buyers, not get into any arguments. So, if you only disagree with my opinion, could you please say so in the comments and not indicate that the review was not helpful. Thanks.
Probably one of the funniest movies I've seen in at least the past twenty years is "My Cousin Vinny," starring Joe Pesci, Marisa Tomei, Fred Gwynne, Ralph Macchio, and Mitchell Whitfield.
"My Cousin Vinny" tells the story of how a coupla easy-goin' college kids on their way from "Big Apple," where they live, to California, where they go to school, run afoul of the law in Alabama. Somehow, Bill Gambini and Stan Rothenstein manage to get themselves charged with a murder they didn't commit. Two New York City kids, alone and broke in a small-town jail, charged with murder... And no lawyer in sight. What to do? Call home, of course! The solution to their problem of not having a lawyer? Naturally - enlist the help of the lawyer in the family,!
Enter Bill's cousin, Vinny Gambini (played by Joe Pesci), a sawed-off, wise-crackin,' street-wise, runt of a man with one of doze "tick Brawnx accents" and an ego that far exceeds his diminutive stature. His mission: to defend the two "yewts" (youths) against charges of murder. Accompanying Vinny is his beautiful fiancee, Mona Lisa (Lisa) Vito (Marisa Tomei), an unemployed beautician with an encyclopedic knowledge of automobiles and auto mechanics.
It looks like the day is saved for Stan and Bill. Only... they have a BI-I-G problem on their hands: Vinny's only been a lawyer for six weeks. That's after trying - and failing - to pass his bar exams for six years!! And, he's never... ever... tried a case in a real live courtroom.
I won't give away any more of the plot. You'll just have to watch "My Cousin Vinny" to see how Vinny Gambini stumbles and fumbles and bumbles his way through the most important case of his new-found legal career, all the while contending with an austere judge, a highly confident and competent local District Attorney, a second-rate Public Defender who can barely get words out of his mouth, much less complete sentences; and a host of the town's local citizens - some of them witnesses, others just a pain in the neck, and all of them busily engaged in a constant clash of cultures with Vinny, Lisa, Bill, and Stan.
Joe Pesci, Marisa Tomei, Fred Gwyunne, and Ralph Maccio all deliver delightfully comedic performances in "My Cousin Vinny, and are ably abetted by screen writer Dale Launer's crackling and witty screenplay. The American legal profession takes the brunt of Launer's sharp-witted pen. Ambulance chasing, incompetence, and an overly legalistic approach to the law are but a few of the legal profession's faults lampooned in this film. "My Cousin Vinny" brilliantly parodies our cultural differences as well. It draws sharp - and hilarious - contrast between the bucolic and the urban; and the provincial and the urbane. The movie also does an excellent job of pointing out, in a humorous way, our tendency to stereotype people and cultures not our own.
All this makes for a side-splitting two hours of cinematic entertainment. Highly recommended.
on July 15, 2004
In 1992, My Cousin Vinny was the one movie that made everybody laugh until their sides split. I've been watching the film ever since it was released and all I did was laugh my rear-end off. Twelve years have gone by since the film was released and I'm still laughing today. Any actor or actress can get a rise out of you if they knew the right way to do it, but nobody can get a rise of you the way Joe Pesci does in this film; nobody can do it they way Marisa Tomei does in this film.
When two college buddies by the names of Bill (played by Ralph Macchio) and Stan (Mitchell Whitford) are driving down the roads of Beecham County, Alabama, they are suddenly arrested for the murder of a grocery store clerk, but what the police of Alabama don't know is that Bill and Stan are completely innocent. Unable to afford a public attorney, Bill turns to his cousin, Vincent Gambini (played by Joe Pesci), an ex-auto-mechanic turned lawyer from Brooklyn, New York, who just past his bar exam after failing it the first five times and knows absolutely nothing about law. By his side is his beautiful fiancee, Lisa Vito (played by Marisa Tomei, in her Oscar-winning role), who is an out-of-work hairdresser that knows every damn thing there is to know about cars. The court is led by Judge Chamberlain Haller (played by the late Fred Gwyne), who has absolutely no patience for any kind of misbehavior in his courtroom. Seems as though Vinny has now finally realized his no longer in New York and is now in a state where no one gets away with any kind of behavior or crime and has finally met his match. Can Vinny pull his cousin out of this mess without screwing up the case? Watch My Cousin Vinny as he desperately tries to save his little cousin while he gives you non-stop laughter along the way.
on January 3, 2007
"My Cousin Vinny" is an underrated gem. Or actually, I suppose (here, at least) it's not so underrated, as there are more than 100 people in agreement with me. If you're thinking about getting it, but not sure -- do! Fred Gwynne is terrific in his last film role. Marisa Tomei (Oscar debate notwithstanding) is also "dead-on balls accurate" as Mona Lisa, a tough-talking, out-of-work hairdresser from Brooklyn. And of course, Joe Pesci is absolutely perfect as Vinny. Just coming out of "Goodfellas" a couple of years before, he's a comedy revelation. Sure, he was funny in "Home Alone", but nothing like as funny as he is here.
The rest of the cast deliver very strong character performances as well. From the state's attorney played by Lane Smith to the county sheriff played by Bruce McGill. Ralph Macchio and Mitchell Whitfield are also great as the two defendants. And don't miss Austin Pendleton's hilarious turn as a public defender with stage fright. Classic!
I used to know the dialogue pretty much backwards and forwards, and even now, 15 years later, I still watch the movie every so often and find myself quoting lines.
Note: The DVD has almost no special features at all. Disappointing. Maybe we can look forward to a special edition at some point in the future. Still, when you're looking for a pick-me-up, you can't go wrong with "My Cousin Vinny", so I recommend getting the DVD anyway -- special features or not.
on June 21, 2006
Two friends, Stan and Billy, take a road trip down south but run into trouble when they are mistakenly arrested for murder in Alabama. The hapless youngsters have no money to hire an attorney but Billy's cousin Vinny (Joe Pesci) is a lawyer so they call on him to help. What they don't realise is that Vinny took 6 attempts to pass his legal exams and, what's more, has no courtroom experience to speak of. What follows is none stop humour and 'laugh aloud' moments as the brash New Yorker sweeps into the hick town accompanied by his strident girlfriend, Mona Lisa Vito (Marisa Tomei).
Vinny's lack of court etiquette, such as dressing in leathers and arriving late, quickly upsets the traditionalist judge, played by a brilliantly dry Fred Gwynne. The judge decides to have Vinny investigated in order to prove he is not fit to take the case whilst Vinny races against time to complete the case before the judge finds any information against him.
Marisa Tomei is the real scene-stealer with her brilliant portrayal of Mona Lisa, her courtroom scenes are pure genius, and she deservedly won an Oscar for the part. The film is no high budget work of art and the DVD has little in the way of extras but the sheer quality of acting and the wonderfully funny script more than compensate.
on April 27, 2016
This is a fun movie about two naive college kids who get arrested and thrown in jail for murder because of a communication error. One of the boys hires his cousin to defend them (hence the name of the movie), and this cousin is a brash, inexperienced attorney. Vinny fits certain stereotypes which lead to some comical circumstances surrounding attire, attitude, and accent. Marisa Tomei plays his fiancé and she is street smart, wise, and adorable.
The movie is really well cast, and enjoyable. It's not cerebral by any stretch, but I've seen it more times than I can remember and always get a good laugh out of it.
I feel there are few comic duos that truly illustrate the term synergy; the combined efforts of several are greater than the sum of their individual efforts. The couple that come readily to mind for me are Mel Gibson and Danny Glover as well as Walter Matthau and Jack Lemmon. Individually, Joe Pesci and Marisa Tomei are fine actors, but together I think they put on the performance of their lives.
The story is unique and extraordinarily well written. A couple of city teenagers (played by Ralph Macchio and Mitchell Whitfield) are arrested in Alabama and charged with shooting a convenience store clerk. The confess to the crime, thinking they were being charged with shoplifting. In jail facing capital murder charges, one of the teens calls his cousin Vinny (Joe Pesci), an ex-auto mechanic who finally passed the BAR exam on his 6th try. Vinny is escorted by his beautiful fiancée (Marisa Tormei), an out of work hairdresser who is a genius when it comes to cars. The humor of the movie comes from city attitude meets the properness of the south. Vinny's lack of knowledge of law combined with his city attitude clashing with Judge Haller makes for 2 hours of laughs.
This is a great movie to watch at home with a date and a beer on a Friday night. It is one of a few movies that I can watch several times and not get tired of. I still laugh hysterically when I watch what happens to the new guys in prison.