Quiz Call: My Cousin Vinny

My Cousin Vinny is an answer to the question ‘Films beginning with “M”‘,* which the Quiz Call host on duty was shocked people didn’t get with the clue ‘my left foot’. I can’t wait to find out what she was getting at.

Best pals Stan and Bill (Mitchell Whitfield and original karate kid Ralph Maccio) are driving through Alabama on their way to college when they’re pulled over and charged with the murder of a grocery store clerk. Facing the chair, the only lawyer available to defend them is Bill’s cousin Vinny (Joe Pesci), a recently qualified personal injury lawyer.

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Vinny has less legal knowledge than both his defendants and fiancée (Marisa Tomei), and is perhaps the least competent fictional lawyer since Lionel Hutz. This means it’s a courtroom comedy drama which isn’t so much about the lawyer working how to solve the case as it is him blagging his way along until a miracle strikes.

It makes for a decent enough culture clash comedy as the brash New Yorker comes up against traditional Southern values, like a comedy version of The Judge. It’s mildly amusing in places, with Vinny’s argumentative but loving relationship with his hair dresser/mechanic fiancée Mona Lisa Vito a particular highlight. Pesci does his thing and does it well, even if this means the defendants are left in the background.

It’s a perfectly enjoyable and well made film even if it’s not worth going out of your way for. And I still have no idea what it has to do with ‘my left foot’. It could be that it begins with the word ‘my’, in which case it could have been a clue for My Best Friend’s Wedding, My Fair Lady, My Big Fat Greek Wedding, My Super Ex-Girlfriend or My Little Pony.

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*Wikiquote lists 212 films beginning with M. Of the 12 answers on the board only My Cousin Vinny, Mommie Dearest and Mannequin are on there.

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