My Cousin Vinny (1992)

While this ’90s mainstream classic hasn’t aged particularly well, it’s still an entertaining, often laugh-out-loud funny comedy that’s all the more charming thanks to its many winning performances. Joe Pesci is a surprisingly endearing lead here, softening his usual hard-edged gangster persona a great deal in order to play the rough-edged-but-affable titular character, while hapless duo Ralph Macchio and Mitchell Whitfield make adorable, dependable comedic partners who bumble their way through the movie’s amusing plot. However, the movie belongs to Marisa Tomei and Fred Gwynne: Tomei won an Oscar for her charming, star-making performance and she’s screamingly funny, while Gwynne so carefully pronounces each syllable of his dialogue that he maximizes the comedic impact of his role. I’ll confess I feel the movie could be a little better if it had a strong musical score, but even so, this is a pleasant, superior studio comedy.

Rating: ★★★★ (out of 5)

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