Young college student Clark Kellogg (Matthew Broderick) has just arrived in New York from Connecticut to study filmmaking at NYU.
Within 20 minutes of arriving in NYC, he has fallen victim to an unscrupulous cab driver. Bereft of his luggage and all his money, Clark meets his wacky but well-meaning roommate Steve Bushak (Frank Whaley) and his pompous film professor, Arthur Fleeber (Paul Benedict).
While explaining his travails to the uncaring Fleeber, Clark spots the cabbie, Victor Ray (Bruno Kirby) and breathlessly chases him down. Victor appears contrite but admits he has already gambled away Clark’s college funds.
He promises, however, to get Clark a job with his influential Uncle Carmine.
Crime boss Carmine Sabatini (Marlon Brando) – who looks uncannily like Don Corleone (the script repeatedly plays on this and the joke never gets old) – takes a shine to Clark and offers him a job.
And though Clark suspects that Carmine is not the legitimate businessman he represents himself to be, the offer is one that he can’t refuse (to coin a familiar phrase) – $1,000 a week to “run a few errands”.
The movie is basically a collection of gags, many of which arise from the interaction between the innocent freshman and the wily godfather. There’s also some byplay between Clark and Tina (Penelope Ann Miller) – “Carmine Sabatini’s only daughter”, as she’s fond of describing herself – who insists she wants to marry Clark as soon as she meets him.
Tipped off by his cold-hearted stepfather (Kenneth Welsh), the authorities are soon pursuing Clark and pressuring him to turn in Carmine or face a two-year jail term. His loyalty to Carmine, who has shown him more fatherly affection in a few days than his stepfather has in several years, is put to the ultimate test.
Brando is a phenomenally witty actor, and Broderick’s performance represents some of his finest work to date.
Penelope Ann Miller
Maitre D’ Gourmet Club