Review: ‘Things Change’

David Mamet's Things Change is a dry, funny and extremely intelligent comedy about an innocent mistaken for a Mafia don.

David Mamet’s Things Change is a dry, funny and extremely intelligent comedy about an innocent mistaken for a Mafia don.

Pic opens in Chicago as the elderly Gino (Don Ameche), a shoeshine boy, is ‘invited’ to meet a Mafia boss whom he physically resembles. He wants Gino to confess to a murder and take the rap and as a reward he can have his heart’s desire.

Gino is handed over to Jerry (Joe Mantegna), a very junior member of the Mafia clan. All Jerry has to do is coach Gino in his story for two days, then deliver him to the law. Instead, Jerry decides to give the oldster a final fling, and takes him to Lake Tahoe where, unknown to him, a Mafia convention is about to take place.

Gino is instantly mistaken for a senior Don and given royal treatment. He’s also invited to meet the local Mafia kingpin (Robert Prosky) with whom he instantly strikes up a close rapport while Jerry sees himself getting into deeper and deeper trouble.

This comedy of mistaken identity centers around a beautifully modulated starring performance from Ameche as the poor but painfully upright and honest Gino. As the dimwitted Jerry, Mantegna is consistently funny and touching.

Things Change

Production

Filmhaus/Columbia. Director David Mamet; Producer Michael Hausman; Screenplay David Mamet, Shel Silverstein; Camera Juan Ruiz-Anchia; Editor Trudy Ship; Music Alaric Jans; Art Director Michael Merritt

Crew

(Color) Available on VHS, DVD. Extract of a review from 1988. Running time: 100 MIN.

With

Don Ameche Joe Mantegna Robert Prosky J.J Johnston Ricky Jay Mike Nussbaum

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