Written and directed by Charles Pellitier, two wanna-be thugs attempt to rob an apartment; everything goes awry when the owners show up early for a little late-night sex. A game of cat and mouse ensues. Starring: Thomas Anawalt, Sa’shel Del, Moronai Kanekoa, Charlotte Gulezian and C. Stephen Foster.
Considering that the film was made in 2016, the style quickly moves from feeling modern to remarkably 90s. The direction, editing and even the set dressings feel akin to something that you’d find in a 90s sitcom. It’s very stiff and simple, the angles of its shots feel unimaginative and restrict itself from adding in a more frivolous and fun energy to the film. The atmosphere comes across too stilted for quite a silly story, it needed to let loose and embrace the outlandish edge to it. It also could have used a stronger cinematography, it’s too bright and clean, there’s nothing to really bring a sincerity or authenticity, to let you be taken in by its world.
The writing feels like it’s stuck between trying to reflect a modern society while using quite old-fashioned comedic devices. It needed to reconcile that balance by tipping it further in one direction, committing entirely to one particular tone. The result instead lacks the drive to make a more tangible impression. There are some interesting choices, trying to explore the idea of an empty job market for graduates who were promised the world was their oyster if they got a degree but it comes across as too secondary of a plot point to further the film. It has good intentions but there just isn’t a natural flow or pace to it to heighten the comedy. Although its representation of constantly trying to manipulate a woman into having sex is a little uncomfortable.
Sa’shel Del and Moronai Kanekoa take the lead well, they’re charismatic and have a convincing friendship. Whereas the film’s style struggles to bring sincerity, these two actors actually manage to retain theirs, never crossing the line into over the top or fake. The issue however comes with the attempts to add a romantic element between Gulezian and Anawalt, the chemistry and whole situation feels very forced. The type of character that Gulezian is playing feels like a role much too young, the qualities that the writing creates are more closely fitting to a 19-year-old, so it clashes with the acting. It feels like they’re pushing her character towards an almost air-head style persona and it just doesn’t fit. C. Stephen Foster on the other hand does add a unique charm, his character is odd and unusual but brings a more sustained energy and personality to the film’s latter moments. His comedic acting is the strongest of the cast, his timing and line delivery are the most effective throughout the film.
That’s Opportunity Knocking feels like it’s a little too stuck in the past, reminiscent of 90s sitcoms without coming across as entirely intentional. The idea and comedy are both there but it lacks a real energy or atmosphere to push them forward, resulting in feeling flat. Foster, Del and Kanekoa all manage to do well in their performances despite the script not giving them too much of an opportunity to break out of the mould but Gulezian and Anawalt feel out of place. Ultimately, the film feels too formulaic and stilted, it doesn’t bring enough new elements to the table to make it work the way it wants to.