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My Cousin Vinny Review

For Families provided by Common Sense Media

OK for kids 15+

Courtroom comedy will appeal to teens. Some strong language.

What Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that the language is crude throughout. Because the film's humor and story are appealing to older tweens and teens, it's regrettable that the filmmakers illustrate the "fish out of water" nature of the leading characters with so much swearing and rough language.

  • Families can talk about snap judgments. What are the filmmakers trying to say about first impressions and stereotyping? How did both Vinny and Mona Lisa belie their appearances?
  • How was the Southern sheriff unlike other typical movie depictions of small-town Southern sheriffs?
  • Do you think you were supposed to believe that this story could really happen? What are some of the clues that the filmmakers used to show that it was a fairy tale or farce and not to be taken seriously?

The good stuff
  • message true3

    Messages: Honesty, loyalty, and playing by the rules triumph. People who take advantage of others and prey on those weaker than themselves can be conquered by intelligence and confidence. It's not always possible to judge a person's worth by exterior appearances.

  • rolemodels true3

    Role models: Leading characters demonstrate courage, resourcefulness, a sense of fair play, and smarts despite the fact that they look ignorant and in over their heads when we first meet them. The sheriff and court officials prove to be honest and impartial, unlike those characterized in most comedies about the Southern justice system.   

What to watch for
  • violence false1

    Violence: A character fires a pistol into the air several times in anger. One well-aimed punch in the jaw. There's a detailed verbal description of deer hunting.

  • sex false1

    Sex: A few loving kisses between an engaged couple. They are also seen nestling together in bed.

  • language false4

    Language: Frequent cursing throughout. Many uses and permutations of "s--t," "f---k," as well as "dickhead," "ass," "goddamn it," "balls," etc. The language is used as a device to define the characters, their backgrounds, and street credentials.

  • consumerism false2

    Consumerism: Bush's beans are center focus in one sequence. Other products shown briefly are: Canon, Coca Cola, Mother's Cookies, and some beer.   

  • drugsalcoholtobacco false1

    Drinking, drugs and smoking: Judge smokes. Lawyer has a drink in hand while on the phone.