Two carefree pals (Ralph Macchio and Mitchell Whitfield) traveling through Alabama are mistakenly arrested, and charged with murder. Fortunately, one of them has a cousin who's a lawyer - Vincent Gambini (Joe Pesci, Lethal Weapon 3, Home Alone), a former auto mechanic from Brooklyn who just passed his bar exam after his sixth try. Vinny's never been in court - or in Alabama - and when he arrives with his leather-clad girlfriend (Marisa Tomei in her Oscar® winning Supporting Actress performance), to try his first case, it's a real shock - for him and the Deep South!
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Cast & Crew
Tomei, sashaying through the proceedings as kind of a sexy hood ornament, creates a buoyant chemistry with her combative b.f.
While it's easy to imagine an infinite number of bad courtroom comedies based on this scenario, this movie turns out to be wonderful -- broad and low character comedy that's solidly imagined and beautifully played.
Easily the most inventive and enjoyable American film farce in a long time, even during those extended patches when it seems to be marking time or when it continues with a running gag that can't stay the distance.
You might not remember much about My Cousin Vinny an hour later, but the cast makes the jokes (even the bad ones) go down easy.
Joe Pesci is a total screen pleasure. He grabs whatever comes his way -- from GoodFellas to Home Alone -- and bullies it into something great. He's charming, menacing, and pitbullish all at the same time, a tenor-voiced imp of ceaseless energy.
Weighed down by a dull setup featuring Ralph 'Karate Kid' Macchio, the movie gets a much-needed charge from Pesci, a bundle of bandy-legged impudence as Macchio's lawyer cousin, Vincent Gambini.