By Merle Bertrand | June 27, 2000

Bill (Christopher Tenzis) is far too young to be such a persnickety grouch. Yet, persnickety grouch he is, and a condescending, snobbish, persnickety grouch to boot. The couple upstairs keeping him awake with their highly vocal sexual gymnastics doesn’t help his temperament any, either. When he tries to spin the irritation into inspiration by snuggling with his sleeping wife Maureen (Maureen Porter), only to have her rebuff him, his already gloomy mood descends to a countenance as black as a pre-tornadic sky. The problem, Maureen explains to him, isn’t just that she has to get up in the morning, it’s his attitude. And until Bill makes a significant improvement in his cynical demeanor, she’s sleeping on the couch. Determined to be a good husband, Bill decides to change his attitude.
When the alarm beeps the next morning, following a sleepless night, the new Bill springs into action. Like Scrooge’s overnight conversion in “A Christmas Carol,” Bill takes to the streets, meeting and greeting everyone with whom he comes into contact with a cheerful — and overly-persistent –“Good morning!” To his surprise and considerable consternation, he hilariously discovers that while he may be ready for an attitude adjustment, the rest of the world certainly isn’t.
Director and star Tenzis is one talented guy. Tall and lanky like John Cleese with Jim Carrey’s expressive rubber face and the precise patter of a stand-up comedian, Tenzis is as engaging and easy to watch in front of the camera as he is adept behind it. (He also shows a tremendous directorial range with “Changes.” This is a totally different kind of film than his much more experimental short “A Man and His Pants,” which we reviewed last month.)
Based on a short story by Stephen Dixon, “Changes” is a sprightly-written, slickly-produced, and tightly-constructed comedy that’s a real pleasure to watch. Somebody give this guy some money and let’s see what he can do with a feature.

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