Projections - Movie Reviews

My Cousin Vinny

My Cousin Vinny

Joe Pesci has an uncanny knack for choosing winners.  He totally absorbs the character he's playing to make it uniquely his own; no one else could be cousin Vinny but Pesci.

Ralph Macchio and Stan Whitfield play two college kids traveling through a small town in Alabama.  They stop in a convenience store to pick up a few supplies and take off down the road with a forgotten can of tuna in a pocket.  Arrested shortly afterwards, the boys believe these southern yahoos are making a big deal out of a simple shoplifting, only to find out they're charged with murdering the store clerk.

The boys call Vincent LaGuardia Gambini, cousin Vinny, to defend them.  They find out that Vinny passed the New York bar exam on his sixth try, and this will be his first case.  Vinny thinks he'll "learn as he goes" but he hasn't met the by-the-book judge yet (played by Fred Gwynne).

Vinny shows up with his sassy fiancee, Mona Lisa Vito (Marisa Tomei).  He drives up in an old Cadillac convertible, wearing a black leather jacket, silver-toed cowboy boots and a mile high hairdo - he thinks he blends in.

Vinny gets little sleep since hitting town.  Besides cramming for his day in court, he's awakened every dawn by passing freight trains, deafening plant whistles or pigs oinking at the local pork factory.

Pesci is like a funny Columbo.  Confused and seemingly out of his element, he's a riot.  Gwynne is super as the stern judge who charges Vinny with contempt of court so many times, he ends up in jail as much as his clients.  Also terrific is Tomei as Vinny's girlfriend.  A former mechanic and unemployed hairdresser, she steals the picture.

My Cousin Vinny is a refreshingly funny film, filled with great performances.

My Cousin Vinny

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