Sunday, December 30, 2012

My Cousin Vinny

When you think of courtroom films, you immediately think of films like 12 Angry Men or To Kill a Mockingbird. You usually don't think of a courtroom-set film being a comedy. (Though George Cukor did make one in the form of Adam's Rib.)

Jonathan Lynn made My Cousin Vinny forty-three years after Adam's Rib was released. It's sort of a spiritual successor to Cukor's film but some elements are different. For starters, the characters in Lynn's film aren't as straight-laced as those in Cukor's film. But for now, that's all I'll say on the matter. (Though Adam's Rib and My Cousin Vinny would make for an interesting double feature.)

I think what makes My Cousin Vinny clever is that Lynn knows his subject matter. He actually has a degree in law, therefore he has an accurate depiction of courtroom activity. (He's been praised by lawyers for such a depiction.) Hey, it shows he's doing something right.

The cast is great. Far from his Oscar-winning role, Joe Pesci shows some brains within that wiseguy attitude of Vinny's. Marisa Tomei is definitely Pesci's equal here. (I can't really say if she earned that Oscar or not since I haven't seen all the nominees from that year. She is very good though.) I also have a soft spot for Fred Gwynne here. He's so good at being deadpan.

I can see myself re-watching My Cousin Vinny repeatedly in the near future. The reason? It's that good. You just don't see comedies like this very often (or at all), so be sure to give it a watch. You won't regret it.

My Rating: ****1/2

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