Saturday, June 7, 2008

The Grittiest Case Ever: My Cousin Vinny

A hilarious yet charming movie about lawyers and coming back. The plot: Two guys (Ralph Macchio and Mitchell Whitfield) stop at a rest stop in Alabama and buy loads of stuff. Macchio forgets to pay for a can of tuna and he and his buddy drive off in oblivion. Two minutes later, they are being hauled into the station on account of shoplifting (reasonable) and murder (obviously not). So Macchio calls his cousin Vinny (Joe Pesci), who is less competent than The Verdict's Francis Galvin on a drinking spurt. In fact, Vinny happens to be the worst lawyer ever, and he is so bad, he can't even plead guilty or not guilty. So basically a People's Court fan would be able to outdo him in a trial. Pesci is a great choice for this kind of character, because he is able to channel the humorous aspects of his role in Raging Bull and Goodfellas and lay down a great comedic performance. Also great is Marisa Tomei as his fiance Mona Lisa Vito, an eccentric car buff who is extremely funny. Anyways, the opposing side has three decisive witnesses and a judge (Fred Gwynne) who disapproves of Vinny's informal manner. For example, he makes fun of Vin's black leather jacket and ridicules him and makes it clear that he should wear a coat and tie. But don't worry: this is as funny as it sounds. In the end, though, Vinny realizes the consequences of a sentence and decides he should step up his game. And step up he does. He puts Denzel Washington's Philadelphia lawyer to shame. He kicks the crap out of the opposing by whittling each witness down one by one until they look foolish. This is hard to believe. I guess the notes that the opposing lawyer supplied helped. Plus, Vinny's experiences in Alabama have eerie effects on the success of his arguments. So as to say, his experiences help him out. This is a little too coincidental for me. I liked Tomei's final car argument to justify that there could be another car besides the Buick Skylark, but everything after that seemed too textbook. And also, the experiences were funny, but how much crap really can happen to two people when they are in bed? Excuse me, that was a dumb question. When it comes to movies, bad luck always happens to people when they are sleeping. How could I be so foolish? Another thing: the character development is a work of stupidity. But heck with that. This film is actually a very funny insight on courtroom dramas and actually is effective in what it wants to do. Case closed. B+

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