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Comedy 3-Pack (Blu-ray)

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Anyone who greeted My Cousin Vinny with wariness, uncertain about a fish-out-of-water comedy featuring abrasive New Yorkers in the deep South, should reconsider this gem that gave the world Marisa Tomei. Tomei may not have blossomed into the star many thought she'd be, but her Oscar-winning performance opposite Joe Pesci was the most endearing introduction of new talent in years. Stealing every scene she's in, Tomei makes whining charming and toughness vulnerable, all with an exceptional sense of comic timing. Dale Launer's script offers some hilarious, if predictable, culture clashes, and the chemistry of Pesci and Tomei give the story exhilarating zip. As the exasperated judge, Fred Gwynne (in his final film appearance) is a perfect anchor and straight man, while Ralph Macchio and Mitchell Whitfield make the most of secondary roles, watching the unpracticed courtroom manner of the lawyer hired to defend them with dawning horror. The story is not high on originality, but its tight execution, especially the intelligent details of the case, make My Cousin Vinny a first-class piece of populist entertainment. Director Jonathan Lynn tried to wring another hit from the courtroom antics of novice attorneys with 1997's Trial and Error, starring Jeff Daniels and Michael Richards, but couldn't duplicate Vinny's intoxicating charm. Derek Armstrong, All Movie Guide

Super Troopers is a silly, slow-moving lowbrow comedy. Colgate University-spawned comedy troupe Broken Lizard work well together, but their script is full of flat jokes and gags that misfire, and the direction by troupe member Jay Chandrasekhar (who plays Thorny), stretches every one of these bits to the breaking point. The lazy pace of the film is oddly intriguing during a pre-credit sequence in which Thorny and Rabbit (Eric Stolhanske) harass a trio of stoned college kids. The scene's weird distention enhances the Kafkaesque quality of the humor. But things never really pick up, and it begins to seem like the guys just didn't have enough jokes to fill the film's running time. Why just throw away a gag about Mac (Steve Lemme) pointing his radar gun at his hand when he's masturbating in his squad car, when you can drag it out for a good minute-and-a-half? The Broken Lizard guys are better actors than they are writers, and Chandrasekhar in particular is surprisingly sympathetic. Veteran character actors Brian Cox (who played Hannibal Lecter in Manhunter) and Daniel Von Bargen (of TV's Malcolm in the Middle) do solid work. There's an original idea in here somewhere about bored cops whose attempts to pass the time devolve into anarchy. But the appealingly off-kilter premise and easy bonhomie are not enough to sustain a feature film. Josh Ralske, All Movie Guide

Super Troopers is a silly, slow-moving lowbrow comedy. Colgate University-spawned comedy troupe Broken Lizard work well together, but their script is full of flat jokes and gags that misfire, and the direction by troupe member Jay Chandrasekhar (who plays Thorny), stretches every one of these bits to the breaking point. The lazy pace of the film is oddly intriguing during a pre-credit sequence in which Thorny and Rabbit (Eric Stolhanske) harass a trio of ****** college kids. The scene's weird distention enhances the Kafkaesque quality of the humor. But things never really pick up, and it begins to seem like the guys just didn't have enough jokes to fill the film's running time. Why just throw away a gag about Mac (Steve Lemme) pointing his radar gun at his hand when he's masturbating in his squad car, when you can drag it out for a good minute-and-a-half? The Broken Lizard guys are better actors than they are writers, and Chandrasekhar in particular is surprisingly sympathetic. Veteran character actors Brian Cox (who played Hannibal Lecter in Manhunter) and Daniel Von Bargen (of TV's Malcolm in the Middle) do solid work. There's an original idea in here somewhere about bored cops whose attempts to pass the time devolve into anarchy. But the appealingly off-kilter premise and easy bonhomie are not enough to sustain a feature film. Josh Ralske, All Movie Guide

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