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Customer Review

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.
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