(2000) - 20th Century Fox
by Graham Greenlee of The Digital Bits
Disc Ratings (Video/Audio/Extras):
Specs and Features
120 mins, R, letterboxed widescreen (1.85:1), 16x9 enhanced,
single-sided, RSDL dual-layered (layer switch at 55:13, in chapter
12), Amaray keep case packaging, audio commentary with director
Jonathan Lynn, theatrical trailer, TV spot, film-themed menu
screens, scene access (24 chapters), languages: English and French
(DD 2.0), subtitles: English and Spanish, Closed Captioned
biological clock is tickin' like THIS, and the way this case is
going, we ain't never gettin' married!"
Do I even need to discuss Marisa Tomei's Oscar win when reviewing
My Cousin Vinny? Back in 1993,
it seemed that everyone and their cousin had an opinion about
Tomei's "shocking" win. Truth be told, her win wasn't that
surprising, as she gives a wonderful performance (but more on that
later). Ten years after the fact, it seems that
My Cousin Vinny is ready for a
new life on DVD and for objective eyes to look back on this
Billy (Ralph Macchio) and Stan (Mitchell Whitfield) are two college
buddies on a road trip. While driving through Alabama, they're
arrested and set to be tried for the murder of a convenience store
clerk... a crime that they didn't commit. However, all the evidence
points at them, so they need a really good lawyer who can convince a
jury that they're innocent. Or at least a lawyer who's cheap.
It just so happens that Billy's cousin, Vinny (Joe Pesci), just
passed the bar (after six attempts, no less). So Vinny and his
girlfriend Lisa (Marisa Tomei) travel down to Alabama. Vinny has
never been to a trial before, and Lisa keeps pressuring him into
winning the case so they can finally get married. Crass and
unfamiliar with court etiquette, Vinny struggles to even keep his
case afloat, much to the chagrin of Judge Haller (Fred Gwynne), who
is almost excited at the opportunity to try a murder case. With
overwhelming evidence against his clients and courtroom behavior
that is constantly charging him with contempt of court, Vinny must
get serious about his profession and admit that he needs help from
Lisa to win the case and save his cousin.
My Cousin Vinny is an almost
painfully obvious comedy, that jumps from plot point to plot point.
But what elevates it are the fine performances from the main cast.
Joe Pesci is at his best as the fish out of water, whose thick
accent and bad taste in clothes is a constant nuisance to Judge
Haller. Endearing and sympathetic, Vinny is the archetypal underdog
that you can't help but root for. And Fred Gwynne, better known for
his work on The Munsters, is
incredibly dignified and hilarious as Judge Haller, who is very much
the proper Southern gentleman.
As for Marisa Tomei, her performance here is very much the
highlight of the film. I feel she deserved of every award she got
for this role. When a virtually unproven unknown takes an already
funny film and turns it into something truly classic, that's the
mark of a great performance. Even without the much-ballyhooed Oscar
win, Tomei's performance would have made this film a pop culture
event. She simply lights up the screen with three hilarious
monologues (the first about deer hunting, the second about her
biological clock, and the third about Posy-Traction).
The video transfer on My Cousin Vinny
is nice, but is far from perfect. The image is a bit soft and there
is the occasional compression artifact every now and then. However,
the blacks are deep, with good shadow detail, and the colors appear
natural. I also detected very little edge enhancement haloing.
The English 2.0 surround track isn't anything special either, but
it features some nice clarity in the dialogue, which is never
drowned out by the occasional loud music or effect.
Though a little skimpy on the extras, My
Cousin Vinny does include an audio commentary with
director Jonathan Lynn. I have to admit the track is a bit dull.
Most of his comments are self-congratulatory asides like "Joe
brought so much to the film" and "I love Marisa's reading
here." There are also numerous long gaps here. I think Lynn
would have probably played better if they'd gotten one of the cast
members to join him on the track. The remainder of the extras amount
to the original theatrical trailer and a TV spot, both in
A fluff comedy that will continue to entertain as many people as it
infuriates, My Cousin Vinny is
a great little movie that features Joe Pesci, Marisa Tomei and Fred
Gywnne in career defining performances. It's a basic DVD release,
but a good film nonetheless.