Other than “Liar, Liar”, have you ever heard of a legal comedy? Anything dealing with a courtroom is typically dramatic or serious. In the case of “Liar, Liar”, the humor in question relied rather heavily on Carrey’s never ending streak of physical humor, and if you re-watch it, you realize courtroom scenes are fewer than other scenes throughout the film. In “My Cousin Vinny”, a monumental piece of the film was the courtroom, so the comedy is very different, but very well done.
After being mistaken for murderers, friends Bill Gambini (Ralph Macchio) and Stan Rothenstein (Mitchell Whitfield) hire Bill’s bumbling attorney Vinny (Joe Pesci) to defend for them. With extreme evidence against them in their case, they must rely on the strange antics of Vinny to get the job done, and get them off.
While his methods seem to suggest that in reality he doesn’t know what he is doing, he is actually very smart. He views the legal system in a way most lawyers in films don’t, which is in the most innocent and simple way. Imagine the innocence of a child hearing about a complex case and asking the most simple question of “Well, why don’t you just see it this way?” but with more years of experience backing that question.
This film focuses more on the eyewitness section of a hearing. While eyewitness testimony may seem to be condemning, this showcases how flawed eyewitness accounts can actually be. People get confused, they want something to be true, so their subconscious creates a clear story that they truly believe. Vinny simply opens their eyes by testing their testimony against them.
All of this in the kind of humor that just reminds the viewer that the justice system is flawed, and maybe we shouldn’t look so deeply into some cases. Its humor is still flawless to this day, which is hard to say for some movies that are more than twenty years old. While some movies preserve their humor, others often lose it, and the fact that this is a legal comedy just expands that humor, as this genre is rather rare.
While it is obvious that Joe Pesci’s performance was very memorable, the rest of the cast can’t be ignored. It should be noted that Austin Pendleton’s performance as well as Fred Gwynne’s performance were equally as memorable. Marrisa Tomei actually won an Oscar for best actress in a supporting role for this film.
Overall, great movie, very funny, very smart. You will be pleasantly surprised at how well this movie plays out.