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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

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Review by Steve Rhodes
3 stars out of 4

"I've never tried Communism, but I know I wouldn't like it," the brainless hunk, Matt Mateo (Ivan Sergei), tells Dedee, the teenage seductress who wants him to try sex with her. "Or grits," he adds after he thinks for a moment longer.

Dedee, the 16-year-old, seductive protagonist of the acerbic comedy, THE OPPOSITE OF SEX, has been coming on to Matt. Even though Matt is the live-in gay lover of her half-brother Bill (Martin Donovan from HOLLOW REED), Dedee wants him to have his first heterosexual experience with her, so she tries everything to entice him, including dropping her halter top to display her rather large sexual assets.

As Dedee Truitt, Christina Ricci from THE ICE STORM plays a role that is tailor-made for her sarcastic brand of humor. With in-your-face cleavage, short skirts, heavy make-up and platform shoes, she's a catty Lolita on steroids. Derided as "the human tabloid" for her proclivity for sleeping around, she is also the movie's sardonic, take-charge narrator. ("This is the part where I take the gun. Duh, this is, like, important.") As the narrator, Dedee manipulates the story by offering alternative versions and different perspectives on the story, which further enlivens an already exuberant picture.

Writer and director Don Roos's irreverent script can and should be compared favorably to Warren Beatty's BULWORTH. Happy to offend any group without worrying about retribution, this very funny picture dishes out one guffaw after another with many of the best lines being so raunchy as to be unprintable.

As Lucia, the sister of Bill's dead lover, Tom, Lisa Kudrow from ROMY AND MICHELE'S HIGH SCHOOL REUNION is made to look like a spinster aunt with her brunette hair pulled back harshly behind her head. She and Ricci share equally in the script's best dialog snippets.

"I'm bisexual," Matt announces after he finds he has impregnated Dedee. "Puh-lease!" replies an angry Lucia, who is quite protective of Bill. "I went to a Bar Mitzvah once. That doesn't mean I'm Jewish."

"This is how we do it on the Planet Maturia," Lucia lectures the clueless and immature Matt in another scene. "We have much to teach you."

The good-hearted story has Dedee and Matt disappearing. Bill, a teacher who has been falsely accused of molesting one of his former pupils, joins forces with Lucia in chasing after them. Among the many subplots is one involving the stolen ashes of Lucia's brother, to whom Dedee always refers mockingly as "Tom, the dead guy."

Lyle Lovett plays the good old boy, Sheriff Carl Tippett, who eventually beds Lucia. "What's the point of sleeping with you, Lucia, if it doesn't get your attention," he complains when she starts ignoring him.

The press kit offers widely varying interpretations of the film's provocative title, but Dedee offers the most intriguing explanation. "Sex always ends in, like, kids or disease or relationships." She says that this is just the opposite of what she wants.

THE OPPOSITE OF SEX runs 1:40. It is rated R for profanity and sexuality and would be fine for older teenagers.

Copyright 1998 Steve Rhodes

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