My Cousin Vinny (1992) C+
In 1992, Marisa Tomei won the Supporting Actress for the comedy My Cousin Vinny, shw was up against the British and Australian royalty: Judy Davis in Woody Allen's Husbands and Wives (cited by the L.A. Film Critics Association), Joan Plowright in Enchanted April, Vanessa Redgrave in Howards End, and Miranda Richardson in Damage.
In Jonathan Lynn’s broad and shallow comedy, Marisa Tomei is well cast as the feisty New York girl taken for granted by her lawyer boyfriend (Joe Pesci).
The slender story centers on two New Yorkers, Ralph Macchio and Mitchell Whitefield, who are arrested on suspicion in a small southern town. Macchio calls on his Cousin Vinny (Pesci) to serve as his defense lawyer, but Vinny’s legal training, certification and credentials are susect and the judge (Fred Gwynne) in charge of the case is a stuffy Yale grad and a stickler for formal court procedures.
Enter Mona Lisa Vito, Vinny’s street smarts girlfriend, whose intutition, unusual and unconventional “expertise” help him win the case against all odds.
A minor, though sporadically enjoybale comedy, “My Cousin Vinny” was a variation of the popular theme of “fish out of water.”
When Tomei was nominated in 2002 for a second Supporting Actress for In the Bedroom, her agents and friends hoped she would win–and finally live down one of Oscar's biggest myths. Since her win, Tomei gas been dogged by talk that presenter Jack Palance had read the wrong name at the podium. Tomei had called the rumor incredibly hurtful and has refused to comment on it. The hubhub began when Palance called fellow nominee Judy Davis Joan, confusing her with the 1950s TV star. But witnesses say that Tomei herself was utterly stunned when Palance named her over such grand dames as Plowright and Redgrave. One voter recalled: “It seemed bizarre to everyone I knew that Marisa Tomei would win in such a year.”
What if Palance had flubbed “It's absolutely hogwash,” insisted Frank Johnson, of the PriceWaterhouse Coopers accountants, who supervised the results and remain alert during the show, should the presenter make an error. Explained Johnson: “We have an agreement with the Academy that, if that happens, one of us would step on stage, introduce ourselves and say the presenter misspoke.”
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