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— Opa! is a moderately enjoyable movie that plays like an extended commercial for a vacation on the Greek island of Patmos. While it offers anyone who has seen more than a handful of movies absolutely no surprises, it is so sunny and inoffensive it’s difficult to believe it’s been sitting in the vaults for four years.

Competently if conventionally directed by the Indian-born British director Udayan Prasad (My Son the Fanatic), Opa! stars Matthew Modine as Eric, a hunky but shy American archaeologist who arrives in Patmos to meet Tierney (Richard Griffiths, who actually shot this before The History Boys), a colleague of his late father, and continue his late father’s quest for a sacred relic.

Eric’s father spent his life in a fruitless search for a chalice that once belonged to John of Patmos, author of the Book of Revelation, also known as St. John the Divine (and, in certain folk blues circles, John the Revelator). Now, with the help of satellite surveillance and imaging technology, Eric has tracked the cup to a long-buried church that now lies beneath a popular taverna.

That taverna just happens to be owned by the beautiful young widow Katerina (Agni Scott), who takes a liking to the awkward American. So Eric must decide whether the search for the chalice is worth upsetting the locals and his new friend Katerina. (Well, what will it be, boys? True love or professional advancement?)

Modine and Griffiths are overqualified for their orthodox roles, and Scott is reasonably delightful. And while you may groan at the notion of the three old, black-draped women who function as a - wait for it - “Greek chorus,” their actual appearance is more likely to draw a smile.

A thin, tolerant smile, but a smile nevertheless.

Opa!

85Cast: Matthew Modine, Richard Griffiths, AgniScott, Alki David Director: Udayan Prasad Rating: PG-13 for brief nudity and language Running time: 100 minutes

MovieStyle, Pages 40 on 10/16/2009

Print Headline: REVIEW Opa!

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