Fish-out-of-water comedies have been done many times, but usually, if done well, that doesn't matter. This one is done well because of two things – Joe Pesci and Marisa Tomei. Tomei burst onto the Hollywood scene with this film even winning a Best Supporting Actress Oscar as a result.
Two American-Italians, Bill (Ralph Macchio – from television's Ugly Betty) and Stan (Mitchell Whitfield – TMNT, Reversal of Fortune), are falsely accused of murder while in small town Alabama. The only lawyer they know is Bill's cousin Vinny (Joe Pesci – The Good Shepherd, Lethal Weapon 4), a New York lawyer who it took six times to finally pass the bar exam. Vinny is a lawyer, but he has never gone to trial. To say he is green is an understatement. And he is going to have a tough time as the case is being heard by the tough Judge Haller (Fred Gwynne – Shadows and Fog, Pet Sematary).
Using a lot of differing cultures (New York vs. the South) humour the laughs are the focal point and not the plot. There are stereotypes used, but not meanly. This is a lighthearted comedy that will win fans of all ages. The laughs are aided big time by the buffoonishness of Joe Pesci – his character is a schtick, but it works in this instance. The clashes between Vinny and the judge are often hilarious. Bottom line is that Pesci makes Vinny likeable, so we cheer for him to win the case. He is entertaining if nothing else.
Marisa Tomei's performance was eye opening. She demonstrates her above average flair for comedy in one fell swoop playing Vinny's big-haired leather wearing fiancée. It is a career-making performance.
The critics loved the film and it did well at the box office – a double barrelled winner. Rent it or buy it as it looks great on blu-ray.
-Original Theatrical Trailers