Change" on DVD
by Jim Bray
David Mamet takes
to the director's chair in "Things Change," a whimsical tale of mistaken
identity in the world of the mafia.
Don Ameche stars
as Gino, an Italian immigrant shoemaker who enters into a deal with the
Chicago Don to take a murder rap and serve a few years in prison in return
for a generous annual salary.
Ameche is turned over
to Jerry, played by Joe Mantegna, a small time mafia hood trying to work
his way off of probation for an inability to follow orders. Mantegna's
job is to spend Ameche's last weekend of freedom in his apartment with
him, seeing to it that he doesn't get into trouble.
still can't follow orders and, because he's at heart a decent guy, he
bundles Ameche into an airplane for one last weekend fling in the fleshpots
of Lake Tahoe.
They try to register
unobtrusively - to keep out of trouble - but Mantegna is recognized and
so makes up a story about Ameche being the mysterious Mr. Johnson, who
wants to be left alone and anonymous for the weekend.
What ensues is more
than just a tale of mistaken identity, as Ameche is assumed to be a high
powered Mafia figure and therefore treated that way.
Every time Mantegna
thinks they've gotten away with the charade another monkeywrench is thrown
at them, and every time it looks as if the weight of the Mafia is going
to fall heavily on their shoulders, GIno's innate decency and sense of
honor and duty rides to the rescue.
"Things Change" is
a gentle and enjoyable tale, and it's fun to watch Mantegna and Ameche
try to have one halcyon weekend and not bother anyone, but get bothered
in return nonetheless.
Ameche is excellent,
completely believable, as the elderly "old world" Italian. Mantegna is
also good as a guy whose good heart and independent streak doesn't really
put him in good stead in organized crime, but who may not be suited for
anything else, either.
This is really a buddy
flick, and a good one.
The widescreen (and
fullscreen on the opposite side) DVD is in Dolby Digital mono, and audio/video
quality are very good. Extras include digitally mastered audio and anamorphic
video, bonus trailers, chapter stops, talent files and production notes.
Things Change, from
Columbia Tristar Home Video
100 minutes, Widescreen (1.85:1)/Pan&Scan, Dolby Digital mono
Starring Don Ameche, Joe Mantegna, Robert Prosky
Produced by Michael Hausman, Screenplay by David Mamet & Shel Silverstein
Directed by David Mamet
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