My Cousin Vinny (1992)
February 23, 2016 4:18 PM - Subscribe

Two New Yorkers are accused of murder in rural Alabama while on their way back to college, and one of their cousins--an inexperienced, loudmouth lawyer not accustomed to Southern rules and manners--comes in to defend them.


NYTimes: "My Cousin Vinny" is 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.

The film has a secure and sophisticated sense of what makes farce so delicious, which may not be surprising, since its credentials are about as impeccable as you can find in the peccable atmosphere of Hollywood.


Roger Ebert: “My Cousin Vinny” is a movie that meanders along going nowhere in particular, and then lightning strikes. I didn't get much involved in it, and yet individual moments and some of the performances were very funny. It's the kind of movie home video was invented for: Not worth the trip to the theater, but slam it into the VCR and you get your rental's worth.

Bill Belichick uses "My Cousin Vinny" to explain DeflateGate


Every Young Trial Lawyer Needs to Watch My Cousin Vinny

My Cousin Vinny Maneuver Scores Defense Win
posted by MoonOrb (12 comments total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
I know the writer. I think it's pretty funny. ( And no, they didn't mess with Marisa Tomei's voice in post, and no, Jack Palance didn't make a mistake at the Oscars.)
posted by Ideefixe at 5:46 PM on February 23, 2016 [1 favorite]

The whole movie is fun, but Mona Lisa Vito's testimony is such a delight.
posted by rmd1023 at 6:17 PM on February 23, 2016 [5 favorites]

My favorite thing about this movie is how outraged people were that Maria Tomei won the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress, then she spent (and continues to spend) her career proving the doubters entirely wrong about her formidable talent.
posted by xingcat at 6:27 PM on February 23, 2016 [8 favorites]

This is one of those movies where, if I come across it while flipping channels, I don't have to watch the whole thing — but I do make a mental note of when it ends and turn back to it for the final 15 minutes or so to watch the climactic scene. And yes, Marisa Tomei is wonderful in the movie and especially in that scene.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 7:05 PM on February 23, 2016 [1 favorite]

The climactic courtroom scene is an amazing display of Competence Porn from both Vinnie and Mona Lisa Vita.
posted by nicebookrack at 8:17 PM on February 23, 2016 [7 favorites]

Were these magic grits?
posted by Chrysostom at 10:36 PM on February 23, 2016 [6 favorites]

I never would have thought the phrase "maximum allowable torquage" could be seductive, but here we are.
posted by Rock Steady at 8:25 AM on February 24, 2016 [1 favorite]

posted by valkane at 11:25 AM on February 24, 2016 [1 favorite]

I have never seen this movie, but for some reason I know that it's Thom Yorke's favorite film. My brain retains the most useless factoids.
posted by Windigo at 11:57 AM on February 24, 2016

I like that I've seen it multiple times on lists of "Here are a few courtroom dramas that don't fuck it all up"
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 12:19 PM on February 24, 2016

In the commentary track for Wargames the director & writers talked about "laying pipe" in certain scenes - that is, planting information that would be needed later, but not in a foreshadowing/Chekov's gun kind of way, just building it into the infrastructure quietly.

My Cousin Vinny did such a spectacular job of pipe-laying. I remember the first time I saw it in the movie theater, there was a point before the first cross-examination where I felt mystified as to where the story was going, couldn't imagine how Vinny was going to win or why all those witnesses were so convinced that the boys were guilty. And then "Were these magic grits?!" happened. And suddenly all these little comedy scenes that had made up the first half/two-thirds of the movie turn out to be integral to the resolution. The grits at the diner, the sexy-talk about the dripping faucet, the mud - it's like a great sleight-of-hand routine. Ebert was wrong about the movie meandering aimlessly, that was some very purposeful traveling disguised as meandering.

My only criticism of the movie is that it looked like Pesci had some kind of make-shift face-lift tape on his crows-feet to make him look younger and it just looked distractingly weird (or maybe he had an actual bad face lift?). But, yeah, this is one of those movies that I will get sucked into re-watching whenever it pops up on cable.
posted by oh yeah! at 6:21 PM on February 24, 2016 [6 favorites]

This movie deserves the praise it gets for many reasons -- especially the dedicated and skillful plot construction to which oh yeah! refers.

But it especially deserves kudos for perfectly casting Fred Gwynne and allowing him a chance to shine as a character who is formidable for his intelligence and education and not simply his size.

I could have done without the mockery of the stuttering public defender and I'm sure that the stereotyped small-town southerners rub more than a few Alabamians the wrong way but in general this is a movie which succeeds because it puts some work into characterization and dialogue, two things which are inexplicably and woefully lacking in many modern comedies.
posted by Nerd of the North at 10:22 PM on February 26, 2016 [1 favorite]

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