It’s exciting to see Shyamalan on such confident footing once more, all these years later.
Ever since Chevy Chase started falling over his feet in his impersonations of Gerald Ford, one member of every "Saturday Night Live" cast has been given the duty of lampooning the chief executive's silliest mannerisms. The current holder of the office at "SNL" is Dana Carvey, whose impressions of George Bush's vocal style is so infectious that Bush himself seems to be imitating it: "Got to admit . . . dangerous precedent . . . Barbara and the kids . . . full agreement . . . summing up . . . admit precedent . . . Barbara agreement." Carvey does his patented Bush impression at one point during "Opportunity Knocks," in his first starring movie role, and since this probably was inevitable, let it at least be said that the movie does a good job of working it in. Carvey plays a con man who was infiltrated himself high up into a company that manufactures hand-blowers for public rest rooms, and, as the president, he refuses to use paper towels.
The movie stars Carvey as a con man named Eddie, whose typical job consists of dressing up like a man from the gas company, and stealing people's television sets. It's by a complete accident that he falls into the hand-blower scam. He's stealing from a house when the telephone answering device goes into play, and he discovers (1) that the house will be empty for several weeks, and (2) that the house-sitter won't be able to show up as promised. Eddie and his pal, Lou (Todd Graff), immediately settle in, and then it turns out that the president of the hand-blower company has a beautiful daughter who is engaged to the best friend of the missing house-sitter, and so on, in the way such movies have of explaining everything.
The heart of the film consists of the relationships Eddie develops with the daughter (Julia Campbell) and her father (Robert Loggia), the hand-blower magnate. There are few plot surprises in the movie, and one of them is certainly not that the daughter falls in love with the con man and the father discovers he has a natural genius for running the firm - while Eddie has a crisis of conscience about whether he should continue to deceive these good people.
"Opportunity Knocks" has parts borrowed from "The Secret of My Success" and "Trading Places," but the best moments simply consist of the chemistry between Carvey and Loggia. There are board meetings where Carvey hardly does more than clear his throat before Loggia is hailing his latest brilliant suggestion, and other scenes where Carvey thinks fast in a tight spot and improvises ideas to save the company from a plague of paper towels.
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