Opa! (2005) Poster


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Review from 2005 TIFF
Richard14 September 2005
Warning: Spoilers
I saw this film at the 2005 Toronto International Film Festival.

In Opa!, Matthew Modine plays Eric, an American archaeologist who uses all sorts of technology like satellites and radar to determine the best place to dig for artifacts. He comes to a small Greek island to meet with a colleague, played by Richard Griffiths, and to further his dead father's quest for the cup of St. John. Not long after arriving, Eric falls for the charms of single mother Katerina (Agni Scott) who owns a local restaurant. Soon, however, Eric's professional and personal lives are put into conflict and he must choose which one he cares about more.

Directed by Udayan Prasad (My Son the Fanatic), Opa! is like a postcard for the Greek isles. The amazing scenery is like a character itself in the movie and provides a backdrop for the story. Modine is good as Eric and his personality fits the character well. Agni Scott provides a spark and makes it easy to see how Eric could fall for her. The supporting cast is good as well, from Richard Griffiths to Alki David as Katerina's friend and even the three old women in the film that act from time to time as a "Greek" chorus.

Overall the film is entertaining, although a friend and I debated whether one situation at the end of the film would be better served by being explicitly shown rather than implied and off-screen. As well, Eric's relationship to his father is discussed enough in the film to make it seem significant, but that storyline is never quite pursued.
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Possibly has value as a draft -- in need of at least four revisions
John6 May 2012
If you're looking for glorious scenery, a modern, comic Greek chorus of widows -- and otherwise flat characters, inconsistent performances, uninspired direction, and a predictable story -- the movie might be for you.

The formula (exotic location, culture clash, boy gets/loses/gets girl, etc.) is a workable formula. But this one seemed like a first draft of a story that needed many re-writes before it became a workable script. The formulaic plot never generated interest. Matthew Modine's character had no discernible appealing qualities, and Richard Griffiths is uncomfortably grotesque to watch. Agni Scott is beautiful and managed to make something of her role, as did Hristos Valavanidis in an amusing turn as the mayor.
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Lovely romcom, amazing scenery on the Greek isle of Patmos
Amy Adler11 July 2016
Warning: Spoilers
On the beautiful Greek isle of Patmos, an aging archaeologist, Tierney (Richard Griffths) is greeting a new colleague to the place. But, ho ho, Eric (Matthew Modine) appears to be the biggest "stuffed shirt" ever. He's buttoned down on a sunny day, when everyone else is trying to stay cool. But, what news he brings to Tierney! As a modern day, techo-archaeologist, Dr. Eric has brought satellite images which give precise locations to where artifacts are hidden. If one didn't know, St. John the Apostle was once exiled on Patmos and there are hidden relics of him and the church he founded. Some have been recovered, yes. Eric is especially keen to find the legendary "St. John's cup". But, can one really remain a geek on this lovely speck of land, where attractive Katerina (Agni Scott) runs an eatery with music, dancing, and great food? Soon, as Katerina and Eric meet time and again, this very uninhibited and lively lady begins to work a love charm on Mr. Buttoned-down. But, gulp, what happens when the most desired artifact is located beneath Patmos' best restaurant? Are any romance hopes shattered? This wonderful romcom has most everything going in its favor. Modine is always a welcome and handsome performer, while Griffiths and Scott are perfect as his co-stars. All other cast members are great, too. Then, the scenery is beyond beautiful, making most viewers long to jet off this very day to the Greek Isles. For those who love history, the script works the St. John angle into a very special story while the direction is carefree and ebullient. Romcom fans, be sure to try to find this one, sometimes listed as Opa! It brings the joy of a love tale that is sorely missing from most movie theaters these days.
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You'll fall in love with Agni Scott
mikemdp2 April 2015
The major draw in this totally harmless and formulaic romantic comedy is the absolutely effervescent Agni Scott as the female lead.

Her strong, independent character, charming allure and healthy beauty are reminiscent of '80s actress Diane Franklin, who unfortunately was never given the opportunity to carry a film such as this.

The plot, which is inconsequential in these kinds of films, concerns an American archaeologist who travels to an unnamed Greek island in search of the biblical cup of poison rejected by St. John the Evangelist (who appears to be some kind of patron saint in this community).

Romance and complications arise when he falls for a local widow whose popular restaurant apparently sits just above the ruins where the artifact may lay buried.

It's an inane premise that only serves to justify the romantic story, and it mostly works, thanks to an almost alchemically charming turn by Scott.

Unfortunately, as he does in almost every movie he's in, Matthew Modine practically ruins it with his whiny schlub schtick that's grown more tiresome and annoying ever since it kind of worked for him that one time in "Married to the Mob." Even if his character weren't written as a selfish jerk that even his colleagues don't like, it's hard to picture anyone falling for this nasally-voiced, hair-dyed pill.

But if you can overlook that – close your eyes and picture, say, Tim Matheson in the part, instead – the rest of the movie is a pleasant, albeit familiar, delight.

The Greek isles backdrop is a beautiful picture-postcard of a country that really only exists in movies like this and yogurt commercials. The running gag of the three nuns making facetious observations about the story is reminiscent of a '60s Audrey Hepburnish romcom. And the incidental Greek characters are suitably bombastic caricatures.

The late Richard Griffiths is unfortunately unsettling as Modine's fellow scholar. You'll recognize him as Uncle Vernon Dursley from the "Harry Potter" movies. As depicted here, it's not hard to surmise why this talented actor died at the relatively young age of 65. He's positively elephantine, and it's sad to see him uncomfortably moving about, climbing stairs and hobbling along a dock. It's too bad, because his character is delightful and his portrayal quite charming. You'll want to like him, but all you'll feel is pity.

But all that's neither here nor there, because this is totally Agni Scott's show, and she lights up every frame she's in. When she's Greek- dancing on her birthday, you'll wish her hand was on your shoulder instead of on that goofball Modine's. When she's cruising down a Greek country mile on her bicycle, lifts her arms from the handlebars and cries "Opa!" as the wind blows her curly hair behind her, you'll wish it were you sitting behind her, your arms around her waist, instead of that goofball Modine's.

Why this gal isn't in all the movies is a puzzle to me, and will be to you, too, once you watch it.
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