Picks and Pans Review: Opportunity Knocks

updated 04/09/1990 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 04/09/1990 AT 01:00 AM EDT

Dana Carvey

This is not so much a movie as a protracted screen test, and Carvey, Saturday Night Live's Church Lady, passes easily, with a couple of stars for special achievement.

The comedy is slight and not surprising, especially to anyone who has seen Nuns on the Run recently or Wise Guys in the past. Carvey plays a second-rate con man who's being chased by a gangster and hides behind a new identity after he breaks into a house and finds its owner is going to be away for months.

Impersonating a hotshot young businessman, Carvey ingratiates himself with a troubled company CEO—the redoubtable Robert Loggia—as well as the executive's doctor daughter, the comely Julia Campbell, an alumna of TV's Ryan's Hope. Veterans Milo O'Shea, as Carvey's criminal mentor, and John M. Watson Sr., as one of Campbell's patients, add flavor. The sharp-eyed will notice Michelle Johnston, from Staying Alive with John Travolta, singing in a club scene. And Chicagoans will appreciate the locations from their city as well as the many signs of Cub-mania, including T-shirts, pennants, Wrigley Field scenes and frequent worshipful mentions of Ernie Banks.

This is Carvey's show, though, and he carries it impressively, particularly since the movie's director, Donald (Mystic Pizza) Petrie, and his screenwriters, TV veterans Mitchel Katlin and Nat Bernstein, gave him so little to work with. When Carvey falls back on his SNL imitation of George Bush, it's the best sustained bit in the movie.

Carvey has appeared in motion pictures before—as a parole officer in Tough Guys, for one thing. But this is a BIG STAR chance he uses to full advantage, projecting a relaxed, amiable mood and pulling off an emotional little love scene with Campbell, as well as the predictable comedy turns. Isn't that you-know-what, it's tempting to add. But no. Wouldn't be prudent. (PG-13)

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