Mamet's second film is not intellectually fast, nasty, and dazzling like House of Games, but more like a leisurely variant on The Last Detail (and indeed, some Preston Sturges and Capra capers). It chronicles a masquerade whereby an insignificant shoeshine man, Gino (Ameche), is paid to become a fall guy for the Mob. His boastful minder Jerry (Mantegna), assigned to keep Gino on ice until his reluctant court confession, takes pity on him and resolves to give him an outing at the Lake Tahoe gambling resort. 'They always like you when you're someone else' is Jerry's one observation in life, and he is soon hoist by it, floundering in the wake of the folk-wisdom-spouting oldster as he finds himself at the high table with the Dons. It's a film of enormous charm and beguiling sentimentality, and it's played to the hilt by Ameche and Mantegna, the veteran blithely dignified, his captor sweatily alive to every danger, and right to fear the worst. Together, they cast quite a spell.
Cast and crew
|Screenwriter:||David Mamet, Shel Silverstein|