And Dana Carvey Answers

Opportunity Knocks captures the real Chicago. A beautiful city from the skyline, with a rough-hewn, big city aesthetic on the underside. For purposes of this story, that’s important. Dana Carvey plays a low-luck if talented conman, taking advantage of a positive economic bubble to score. He leaves the streets and stops walking on tracks. Soon, he’s a shrewd marketer with a salary and benefits, all by accident.

This isn’t an inventive film. Once there’s an element of romance, Opportunity Knocks turns into a predictable relationship farce that moves impossibly fast with only one potential outcome. Derivative is too gentle a moniker for this script.

The camera relies on Carvey. This pre-Wayne’s World role proves he has the comedic talents to carry something more than sketch comedy (as much as Opportunity Knocks feels like strung together sketches aside). He’s channeling Eddie Murphy from Beverly Hills Cop, shrewdly taking on various personalities to reach his goal. Portraying George W. Bush dates things a bit, and a Chinese routine skirts contemporary social norms, but Carvey’s outlandish enough to pull things together.

Opportunity Knocks is careful in finding an empathetic base early

It says enough that Carvey plays a dubious shyster yet he’s never unlikable. He does, after all, have morals, pointing out he’s not a burglar at one point. Carvey’s target is easy: The affluent. They never go out of style as movie antagonists – and certainly not after the ‘80s ushered in an era of corporate growth. “Someone lives here. I hate them for it,” Carvey says after entering an upscale estate, relating to the audience with shared derision.

While the material isn’t up for narrative challenge, laughs take a few different forms. Opportunity Knocks recalls John Landis’ method of breaking the fourth wall during one bathroom scene, arguably the biggest laugh here. Romantic moments add some quirkiness and an eye-rolling cheesy date montage. Then, Carvey’s on-the-fly pressure moments as he weasels out of or around the growing lies. The latter defines this character.

Important is that Carvey only tussles with the openly corrupt or those with a posh lifestyle. Opportunity Knocks is careful in finding an empathetic base early. Funny people earn that faster than most, and making that funny man into a skittish Robin Hood makes sense for the time period. Plus, the anti-rich sentiment doesn’t age as much as say, the soundtrack or Presidential impressions. The romance though? That was already dated at the time of release.

Video

While not the prettiest transfer or master, Mill Creek issues a decent Blu-ray for this minor comedy. Grain in various intensities remains, made a touch rougher by menial compression parameters. Certain shadows swell with noise, but when in motion only a marginal level of sharpness is lost.

It’s not as if the source is full of detail. Close-ups barely squeeze out fidelity. Shots of Chicago nicely render skyscrapers, if not to any marvelous degree.

Drab color adds a little age, along with minor spots of dirt. Contrast runs flat, with little oomph on either side. Dimension isn’t much of an attribute for Opportunity Knocks, yet for an older print of a small ‘90s comedy, Mill Creek gives it enough to get by.

Audio

DTS-HD comes in the flavor of stereo. Channel separation reaches routine levels, pushing ambient sound like a TV or stereo around the stage. Expect little else.

Better is fidelity, especially bass that catches on the soundtrack. It’s smooth and clean. Dialog stiffens in spots, yet still proves capably clear.

Extras

Some 27-minutes of deleted scenes and a trailer.

Full disclosure: This Blu-ray was provided to us for review. This has not affected the editorial process. For information on how we handle review material, please visit our about us page to learn more.

Opportunity Knocks
  • Video
  • Audio
  • Extras
3

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Dana Carvey heads up this typical comedy/romance set-up but creates a fine, likeable goofball in Opportunity Knocks.

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