Why “My Cousin Vinny” is the best courtroom drama ever filmed

I really liked this movie. Joe Pesci is a fucking treasure, Marissa Tomei is a downright powerhouse, and director Jonathan Lynn demonstrated a mastery of visual comedy combined with a quick, witty script comedy while still respecting the serious tone of the matter and delivered a legitimate film.

Ayee, I’m walkin’ hea!

My Cousin Vinny is one of the best examples of a comedy that’s also a true film at its heart. This is a silly thing to say, but oftentimes, I shy away from modern comedy films as they are often disconnected, uninspired, flat films that rely on one form or another of comedy. Whether it’s sex humor in American Pie or Revenge of the Nerds, stupid people humor in Get Smart or My Idiot Brother, or some other common sub genre of humor. My Cousin Vinny combines many, many of these tones, develops the characters grounded in personality and defining character traits, and distinguishes each one in a way that puts movies like Hall Pass or This is the End to shame. 

Pesci presents as a classic, wise talking badass New Yorker- accent, leather, attitude and all. He’s a very, very 90’s character, and you just love to see this much fucking FLAVOR in a performance. Tomei contrasts as his gorgeous, sophisticated, badass, intelligent fiancé, and has the fortune of being written in the least sexist way possible for a movie released in 1992. Sure, their relationship is a little coarse and a little toxic in modern eyes, but you can hardly fault the filmmakers for accurately (and adorably) portraying a relationship from about 30 years ago.

I ship it

Speaking of relationships, good GOD Pesci and Tomei are cute together. Tomei has a smile that lights up the fucking world, and Pesci is an endearing, sassy himbo. The climax of this movie has more sexual tension between these two amazing characters and actors than the entirety of the Twilight saga.

Woof, I was hot and rumbling at the way these two nipped and riffed in one of the most lovable, believable, realistic relationships I’ve seen on screen. Again, things are a little dated, as Pesci acts a little ‘what do women know, don’t worry your pretty little head by reading’, and the foreplay is just the two arguing and bantering, but it’s genuine, believable banter, instead of a concocted, ‘too funny to be real’ humor you’d get from Robert Downey Jr. (not that there’s anything wrong with that).

The Skylark Lawyer

The film also delivers a goddamn wallop of a tense courtroom drama, delivering picture-perfect lows, highs, twists and revelations. The legal scenes were gripping and complex, but clear and easy to follow. The audience was given a chance to learn about the workings of the court with Vinny, playing the classic role of a protagonist introduced to a strange new world, like Luke in Star Wars, or Harry in Harry Potter. The payoff of his cross-examining prowess delivers like complete superpower, and I kid you not, I was whooping, hollering and cheering as Pesci delivered his crescendo of an argument. 

My Cousin Vinny is a classic 90’s film with little to stand in your way of enjoying the film, the characters, the humor and the drama.

8/10.

If you’re reading this Marissa Tomei, you make my heart flutter please oh please can I take you to prom?

My Cousin Vinny is available to stream on Peacock, and for rent in other places.

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