My Cousin Vinny Dvd

Written by Sarah Provost
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My Cousin Vinny gets off to a slow start, but gradually builds to a climactic courtroom scene of comic brilliance. Joe Pesci stars as Vinny, the Brooklyn lawyer who gets called to Wahzoo City, Alabama to defend his cousin and a friend on a murder charge. Pesci's work can range from magnificent to tedious, but here he gets it just right.

The case against the two boys (Ralph Macchio and Mitchell Whitfield) looks bad. But it gets worse when Vinny arrives to help. He is, in fact, a lawyer, but passed the bar on his sixth attempt and has never tried a case. Fortunately, he brings along his girlfriend, Mona Lisa Vito (Marisa Tomei). Mona is as smart as she is sexy and audacious, and saves the day when called as an expert witness.

The two boys haven't really much to do. The delight of this movie comes in the wrangling between Vinny and Mona, and in the mutual bafflement between Vinny and the Judge, perfectly played by Fred Gwynne. The screenplay, written by Dale Launer of Ruthless People fame, gives us plenty of smart repartee.

Controversy Over an Oscar

Marisa Tomei won an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress in this film. The others nominated were Judy Davis, Joan Plowright, Miranda Richardson, and Vanessa Redgrave, so her win came as a surprise. There were those who put forth the theory that the presenter made a mistake, but Tomei's performance is fresh and very funny. In my opinion, the only surprise is that the Academy recognized it.

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