Monday, 17 January 2011

Film Review: MY COUSIN VINNY (1992)

Director: Jonathan Lynn
Running time: 115 mins (approx)
Certification (UK): 15

UK release date: 17th July 1992

Watched on Sky+ Monday 17th January 2011.


There are very few comedies I find funny, if you read enough of my reviews you’ll eventually find out which ones I like. This is very much one of them! For me is has everything, great acting, an excellent script and, most importantly, it’s funny. But more of my thoughts later, here’s a brief summary first (summary haters please consider yourselves in contempt while I write the next paragraph).

Two college students, Bill Gambini and Stan Rothenstein, from Brooklyn are on their way to LA via the South when they stop off in a small town in Alabama. They are mistakenly identified as the murderers of a clerk in a small store they had visited. Unable to afford a lawyer, they turn to Bill’s cousin, Vinny Gambini, who has only been practicing law for six weeks. Vinny has brought his fiancĂ©e, Mona Lisa Vito, with him but he is determined to win the case on his own. Judge Chamberlain Haller is suspicious of Vinny’s credentials but allows him to defend the two boys. Vinny immediately falls fowl of the accepted procedure in court and finds himself in contempt (more than once). The prosecution seem to have a strong case but Vinny is determined to find as many holes in it as he can. Will Vinny prove the boys innocence? Will the judge discover he is only a novice? Will Vinny ever get a decent night's sleep? All these questions and many more will be answered… but not here.

First of all, hats off to Jonathan Lynn, I love the way he just lets the story unfold and the way he allows the characters to develop. Yes, there are one or two clunky bits, but for the most part I also very much liked the dialogue. Finally, great casting, I couldn’t imagine anyone else apart from Joe Pesci playing the part of Vinny. Also, I thought Marisa Tomei was excellent as Mona Lisa Vito, a role for which she won the Best Supporting Actress Oscar, and it was great to see Fred Gwynne (yes Herman Munster) as Judge Chamberlain Haller. Honourable mentions should also go to; Ralph Macchio as Bill, Mitchell Whitfield as Stan and Lane Smith as Jim Trotter III, the prosecutor.

I may be biased, but I saw this film many years ago and fell in love with it then. It’s one of those I always get great pleasure from watching. If anything, it is a little long, but I can forgive that, I think when you’re invested in the story the time factor becomes less important. Over all, a very well scripted film with some really great comic performances and one which I highly recommend.

My score: 8.2/10

IMDb Page:

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