I have to admit a bias: I hate movies that make fun of the South. My take is this: Movies (and television shows) are produced on the East Coast (New York) and the West coast (Los Angeles).
Since most people don’t find pleasure in making fun of themselves, the East Coast and West Coast collectively look for someone else for their comic relief. The South is an easy target. (So is the Midwest, but I don’t live in the Midwest… so those are kinda funny). (joke).
At any rate, it’s rare for me to enjoy a movie that pokes fun at the South. The exception is “My Cousin Vinny”, even with the otherwise insulting line, “They sleep with their cousins down here… Well some of them do.”
For whatever reason, I forgive Hollywood for all of its pokes at the South in ‘My Cousin Vinny”. It’s just that funny.
Another reason, the movie pokes equal fun at the Brooklyn lawyer and his long-time girlfriend. So, much of the comedy is just the interaction of two different worlds – the deep South with its tranquil ways, and, the Brooklyn visitors, with their high speed flamboyance.
The movie takes place in a small town in Alabama, where two young college boys, passing through, are wrongly arrested for murder of the clerk at the Sak-and-Suds.
Witnesses are lined up to testify against the two boys. But one by one, Vinny, the cousin of one of the boys (who has never tried a case), refutes their stories.
“My Cousin Vinny” also features Marisa Tomei, who won an Oscar for “Best Supporting Actress”, probably for her presentation of a desperate woman whose “biological clock” was ticking out of control.
I do have one criticism of the movie: It was an unfortunate choice by the screenwriter to use the disability of stuttering as comic relief.
Stuttering is a serious condition. There are no easy answers, and, it’s just a shame that the screenwriter chose this disability as a source for some easy comedy. I doubt the screenwriter has ever watched a real, live person struggle with this disability.
On a less serious nature, one last observation, since I am a Yale graduate, I feel compelled to point out: the Judge in the case has a Yale law diploma hanging in his office. Take that, Harvard! I guess we won that one!
“My Cousin Vinny” is funny. You’ll enjoy it, even if you are from the South.
Watch for the scene in the Southern diner when the Brooklyn couple orders breakfast.
Also, one of my favorite lines, “Yeah, you blend!”