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Trial and Error Reviews

Apparently hoping that lightning will strike twice, MY COUSIN VINNY director Jonathan Lynn trots out another courtroom comedy in which a country counselor and a big-city attorney lock horns to broad comic effect. The verdict: less than hilarious the second time around. On the eve of his advantageous marriage to the boss's spoiled daughter (Alexandra Wentworth), successful attorney Charles Tuttle (Jeff Daniels) is dispatched to the desolate hick town where a distant relative (Rip Torn) stands accused of mail fraud. All he has to do is ask for a continuance, a straightforward task that's complicated by the arrival of longtime best buddy Richard Rietti (Michael Richards), a failed actor who's determined to throw Charlie's bachelor party, even if it has to be in the middle of nowhere. The party becomes a barroom brawl, and the next morning Tuttle can't make it to court, so Rietti impersonates him and sets off a chain reaction of mistaken identities, nutty legal hijinks and moments of self-discovery that never make the transition from ridiculous to funny. Part of the problem is that Daniels and Richards are way too old for this brand of naive tomfoolery: Watching fresh-faced kids making the same foolish mistakes and overreacting in the same exaggerated ways might be goofy fun, but guys in their 40s look kind of pathetic. And that's not funny.