In “The Opportunists,” Christopher Walken plays the closest thing he’s ever come to a regular guy: a former safe-cracker named Vic Kelly who’s trying to go straight and live a normal life.
Trouble arises when a fellow claiming to be a long-lost Irish cousin named Michael (Peter McDonald) shows up and asks to stay for a few days. Soon Vic finds himself and Michael being invited to take part in a major heist — a fairly easy one, too, it seems, since the safe is guarded by two security guards who are in on the plot.
Vic agrees to do the heist, but only because his auto-repair business is failing, and his checks keep bouncing. He wants to provide for his grown daughter Miriam (Vera Farmiga), whose formative years he missed while he was in prison, and his girlfriend Sally (Cyndi Lauper).
Things go wrong, of course, mostly in humorous ways. But the film, written and directed by Myles Connell, keeps us guessing as to what it’s supposed to be. There are comic moments, but the film’s structure and characters are not comedic in nature. There is some suspense as to whether the heist will be successful, and whether Vic will find himself wrapped up in a life of crime again, but it’s not a lot of suspense, and it doesn’t last very long before it’s resolved. It’s also not a typical “gangster” movie, as there’s not a bit of violence in the whole thing.
This is a slight, unassuming film, one that just sort of asks you to watch it and be mildly entertained by it, not caring whether you think it’s great, as long as you think it’s OK. And it is OK. Kurt Hoffman’s weirdo jazz score is a nice touch, and the acting is solid — surprisingly so from Cyndi Lauper, who comes off as just about the most believable character in the film as the tough-but-vulnerable Sally.
C+ (; )