Film Review: My Cousin Vinny

Recently it appears that every film I have watched, both good and bad, has been long, thought provoking and at times heavy and/or sludgy. Films that have demanded a lot of attention and a lot of respect. I haven’t, for quite a while, just sat down to a true light hearted film, whose sole purpose is to entertain.

And I’ve reached that point. I needed an evening of simple jokes, foolish plots and comedic entertainment. And looking through the list of films waiting to be watched, My Cousin Vinny seemed to fit the bill perfectly, the trailer implying a movie that is light on touch and with a sense of humour that looks to balance this with a fun but serious plot.

The first thing that really struck me with My Cousin Vinny is the pacing of the film. It doesn’t feel rushed but it moves forward at an impressive speed. The running time of the movie is 2 hours, but honestly, the film never feels it’s length, it never drags and even better, it managed to capture my attention right from the start and never once risked losing it.

Marisa Tomei - My Cousin Vinny

Joe Pesci and Marisa Tomei take the lead roles and both convince in their respective parts. True, they are both comedic and simplistic characters to play and so don’t require the deft touch that a more serious performance needs but the spark between their characters and the interaction and relationship they have is spot on. The fact their performances work so well together allow you to over look the fact that the plot in this film is clichéd, farfetched and of course, predictable. But really, you don’t care. You can guess the ending from the start, but the route that it gets there is slightly less obvious. Either that, or I was looking too deeply into the more prominent narrative routes that the film appears to suggest to see the obvious. It really didn’t matter though, and almost made the film more entertaining as it removed that need to think, you could just soak up the humour and the acting.

The supporting cast deserve a good mention as well, because while it’s Pesci, as Cousin Vinny, that this film revolves around, everyone he has contact with is his perfect foil. He can get away with his over the top antics because the rest of the cast act in a way that mean you simply feel as though Pesci is nailing the performance of “fish out of water” rather than one of destructive silliness or immaturity, that he could have easily fallen into. I cannot praise them all though, as Lane Smith, playing District Attorney Jim Trotter,attempts to ham his performance up and inject some jocular mannerisms to his character but instead just comes across infantile and annoying,

Joe Pesci - My Cousin Vinny

I really cannot moan though, because My Cousin Vinny did exactly what I need it to. I wanted a light hearted, fun film to watch on a wet and boring Friday evening and in fact, I actually got a better film than anything I could have expected. Too often that “make you laugh, throw away film” you use to waste a few hours turns out to be poor, but not this time. And a side from a minor complaint about Lane Smith, My Cousin Vinny is that rare little gem. A film to while away time that is actually, very good.

If you’ve never seen it, I cannot recommend it enough if you want a light laugh, and if you have seen it, dig it out the collection and watch it again.

8 out of 10 stars (8 / 10)

Posted on by 5WC in Film First Edition

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