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The Opposite of Sex

movie reviewmovie reviewmovie review out of 4 Movie Review: The Opposite of Sex

Starring: Christina Ricci, Martin Donovan
Director: Don Roos
Rated: R
RunTime: 100 Minutes
Release Date: May 1998
Genres: Comedy, Gay/Lesbian

*Also starring: Lisa Kudrow, Lyle Lovett, Johnny Galecki, Ivan Sergei, Heather Lee

Review by MrBrown
3½ stars out of 4

Screenwriter Don Roos (_Single_White_Female_) makes a wickedly entertaining directorial debut with this wild, unflinching, and aggressively un-P.C. black comedy. An all-grown-up Christina Ricci plays 16-year-old hellion Dedee Truitt, who immediately up-ends a number of lives after leaving her mother's home in Louisiana and shacking up with her gay half-brother Bill (Martin Donovan) in Indiana. In no time, Dedee seduces Bill's young stud Matt (Ivan Sergei), gets knocked up, and takes off with Matt to California with the ashes of Bill's dead lover in tow (make that held hostage). When Bill, Tom's busybody sister Lucia (Lisa Kudrow), and town sheriff Carl (Lyle Lovett) follow their tracks, things get even crazier...

...but never lighter. Credit Roos for maintaining a scathing, pitch-black tone from first frame to last. There are times when events and characters threaten to soften up, and just when you think the film begins to grow a heart, it chews it up and spits it right back at you. This is perfectly exemplified by Dedee's tart, self-aware voiceover narration, which she uses to add the audience to her victims: she identifies and savages all manner of cinematic conventions and cliches only to use them as tools of manipulation. But meanness is just unpleasant if it isn't funny, and Roos's script is full of delicious zingers that not only bite but draw blood. A lot of these are capably dished out by the better-than-ever Ricci; however, the best lines come from the film's real star--and biggest surprise: Kudrow, whose Oscar-caliber work shows she can do more than play a ditz. The incessantly nagging bitch that is Lucia is not only the funniest in an ensemble of original, indelible, and well-played characters, and she quite handily takes over and walks off with the movie.

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