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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
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.
Positive 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.
Violence & Scariness
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.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
A few loving kisses between an engaged couple. They are also seen nestling together in bed.
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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.
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Products & Purchases
Bush's beans are center focus in one sequence. Other products shown briefly are: Canon, Coca Cola, Mother's Cookies, and some beer.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Judge smokes. Lawyer has a drink in hand while on the phone.
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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. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
Vinny is a role tailor-made for Joe Pesci; he relishes the part, and makes a meal of every courtroom speech and every close encounter with the soul of Alabama. Marisa Tomei won an Oscar for her portrayal of Mona Lisa Vito, and she lights up the screen with her warm, overtly sensuous, yet wise performance. In what must be a first for a legal courtroom farce set in The South, the judge and the law enforcement officers are not played as buffoons or bigots, but honorable and out to administer justice.
There are some very funny moments, indelible characterizations, and memorable lines (no one will forget Vinny's description of America's "yoots."). The plot turns, however, are purposefully silly and far-fetched. Still, it's a delight to watch the two leads see beyond the circumstantial and use their well-hidden mental acuity to win over the hearts and minds of their opponents and the audience.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.