The Opportunists

on August 11, 2000 by Annlee Ellingson
   A vehicle for Christopher Walken, "The Opportunists" does the great character actor justice, giving him a complex role as Vic, an ex-con who is determined to turn his life around, despite the fact that he's bouncing checks all over town. Now operating a failing body shop, he struggles to pay for his elderly aunt's nursing home care and the rent for his business.

   Refusing to borrow from his girlfriend Nina (Cyndi Lauper), he agrees to stage a heist with the help of two security guards at a deposit delivery company.

   Vic's motivations are fully developed, but "The Opportunists" needs a supporting storyline to round out the script. Instead, writer-director Myles Connell fills the gaps with elongated scenes of Vic prepping for the heist. A scene in which Vic rehearses cracking the three-dial padlock is particularly tedious.

   Neither does the supporting cast provide a match for Walken. The security guards lend little more than the opportunity. Lauper and Vera Farmiga are simply the girlfriend and the daughter, respectively. A nephew who shows up unexpectedly is ultimately extraneous, and the startling revelation about his past proves unresolved. Connell, who has directed episodes of TV's "Homicide," brings neither the plot complexity nor the ensemble cast to his feature film debut.    Starring Christopher Walken, Peter McDonald, Cyndi Lauper, Donal Logue, Vera Farmiga and Jose Zuniga. Directed and written by Myles Connell. Produced by John Lyons and Tim Perell. A First Look release. Drama. Rated R for language. Running time: 89 min.

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