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Category:    Home > Reviews > Comedy > Court > My Cousin Vinny (1991/Fox Blu-ray)

My Cousin Vinny (1991/Fox Blu-ray)


Picture: B     Sound: B     Extras: C     Film: B+



It wasn’t quite getting hit in the head with paint cans or glorifying the wise guy in him; but My Cousin Vinny managed to be a break-out hit for both Joe Pesci and Marisa Tomei.  The film was not seen as much of anything when Fox green lighted the film in 1991, but in the end My Cousin Vinny shaped up to be a formidable contender both at the box office and the Oscar stage.  The film was directed by the little known Jonathan Lynn (Clue and The Whole Nine Yards) and with a budget of 11 Million Dollars it is safe to say that Fox wanted to make a quick buck, but not much more.  In the end, however, the film grossed more than 64 Million Dollars and captured the attention of both critics and audiences all over the world.


The film at its core is a simple “fish out of water” tale mixed with a case of mistaken identity as it twists and turns into a much more complex, if not endearing, film.  Before the My Cousin Vinny hit theaters in 1992 Joe Pesci had already won his 1990 Oscar for his amazing performance in Goodfellas and before My Cousin Vinny was finished Marisa Tomei would earn her Oscar.  The tale of mistaken identity of two New Yorkers traveling through Alabama on their way to UCLA, evolves from a very unfortunate murder charge into a hilariously unique courtroom comedy.  My Cousin Vinny is about two boys in trouble, Billy (Ralph Macchio) and Stan (Mitchell Whitfield), who unwittingly look Billy’s cousin Vinny Gambini (Joe Pesci), a fast talking personal injury lawyer from Bronx, New York to help them out after they catch a murder wrap that they did not commit.  Vinny has just passed the Bar after six failed attempts and agrees to help the boys out; though he has never had any court room experience.  The film takes off like a bottle rocket as Vinny (Pesci) showcases his lack of understanding of courtroom proceedings; angering the judge and discrediting himself.  Stan drops Vinny as his defense attorney, but Vinny convinces Billy to give him one last chance.


The film is great from beginning to end with both Tomei and Pesci’s presence leaping from the screen.  There are some dated aspects of the film and some poor directing choice, but overall I would have to praise the film for being creatively daring and comedically charismatic.  The allure of My Cousin Vinny is something that critics, the studio and even fans would have never predicted; but sometimes the star just align and classic moments are made.


The technical features on this Blu-ray are not all too impressive, but are a clear upgrade from the 2000 DVD release.  The picture is presented in a 1.85 X 1, 1080p AVC @ 19 MBPS encoded format that does not ‘pop’ not dazzle as it still has some grainy issues and the colors often times fall flat; though the picture quality overall is good at displaying a detailed image with solid flesh tones.  Tomei’s and Pesci’s outlandishly colorful outfits are what seem to ‘pop’ the most and if it wasn’t for the at times heavy grain, perhaps I would have looked for favorably at the picture.  The sound is a 5.1 DTS Master Audio Track that excellently projects the dialogue cleanly from the front as the rest of the soundscape comes distinctly from the complete speaker range, panning back and forth quite nicely.


The extras are extremely underwhelming as they offer a dry Audio Commentary from Jonathan Lynn that offers very little for fans to enjoy; though it is apparent he invested a lot into the film.  Also offered for your viewing pleasure is a couple of TV Spots and Vintage Trailers that were lackluster at best, but nice to see they were included for completist sake.


The film is not the best comedy to ever be produced, but it has heart and an insanely charismatic cast to keep it afloat.  I would go as far as to say this is a classic film in its own right; acting as one of the best law inspired comedies out there (are there that many?).  I don’t feel that Lynn was the best choice for director (though I love CLUE) and the film surely has its issues, but once again it was Tomei’s (yes, she deserved the Oscar) and Pesci’s magnetic presence that hooked fans from the first line to the last.



-   Michael P. Dougherty II


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