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Overall Rating

Awesome: 21.98%
Worth A Look: 29.67%
Pretty Bad: 10.99%
Total Crap: 2.2%

8 reviews, 43 user ratings

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Opposite of Sex, The
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by Rob Gonsalves

"Full metal Christina."
5 stars

"I don't have a heart of gold, and I don't grow one later," says Dedee Truitt (Christina Ricci), the protagonist of one of the year's best movies, 'The Opposite of Sex.' Like all smart villains, Dedee knows the best way to get us on her side is to talk to us via narration; we're flattered that this liar and manipulator tells the truth to us and us alone. Think of Dedee as a Jerry Springer-era, teenage-vixen version of Richard III, and you'll have one key to the movie, but not the only one.

The Opposite of Sex is a comedy about one volatile catalyst -- Dedee -- dropping into a group of dissimilar people and forcing them to discover their similarities. Of course, that isn't Dedee's aim; her focus is on money, and Christina Ricci's somewhat two-dimensional style works for this single-minded tramp. Dedee has no depths to reveal -- seduction and swindling are all there is to her. Yet something interesting happens. Even though Dedee keeps narrating, the movie's emphasis shifts from her to the people whose lives she affects -- something like the better scenes in To Die For, when we got to see the human cost of Nicole Kidman's entertaining manipulations, their effect on the hapless kids she was seducing.

At the beginning, after Dedee's rotten stepfather has died, she leaves home and lands on the doorstep of her half-brother Bill (Martin Donovan), a gentle gay teacher living with the handsome goofball Matt (Ivan Sergei). Dedee wastes no time seducing Matt and running away with him (along with a big chunk of Bill's money). Bill takes off after them, accompanied by his sort-of sister-in-law -- Lucia (Lisa Kudrow), whose brother, now dead of AIDS, was once Bill's lover. As if Bill didn't have enough to worry about, a sleazy little teen hipster (Johnny Galecki) is accusing Bill of molesting him.

As the movie goes on, the meaning of the title comes into focus. Bill and Lucia are essentially decent but also sexless in their own ways; Bill seems too nice and, well, vanilla to have much carnal appetite (that's why the accusation against him is such a joke), while Lucia is a brittle, cynical woman who rolls her eyes at all the sexual Musical Chairs the characters play. These two form the moral spine of a movie that seems, at first glance, to be cheerfully amoral; even those who reject Dedee can hook into Bill and Lucia. Donovan, as always, has an easy and intelligent presence -- we have faith in Bill's ability to pull himself out of this mess. Kudrow gives the stand-out performance, proving she has more in her portfolio than Phoebe, Ursula, and Michele; Lucia isn't a New Age ditz but a tightly wound, witty fellow teacher -- the first truly adult woman Kudrow has played.

There are other twists and complications, which I'll let you discover. The movie is a comedy, so everything clicks together nicely at the end, with all the characters where we want them to be. The Opposite of Sex is the directing debut of Don Roos, who previously wrote Single White Female and Boys on the Side; he starts with Dedee's nastiness and then takes us deeper into human connections and motivations. In a way, Dedee emerges as something of a heroine: Her lies and betrayals force the more decent characters out of their ruts and into the world. They find themselves, while Dedee ends up in a shabby motel room with a gun-waving teen Jesus freak.

The surprise of 'The Opposite of Sex' is how compassionate it turns out to be, despite the acidic remarks of its narrator; it even has sympathy for Dedee herself, who wields all this manipulative power, yet is essentially powerless to be anything other than what she is.

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originally posted: 01/25/07 13:37:22
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OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2006 CineVegas Film Festival For more in the 2006 CineVegas Film Festival series, click here.

User Comments

6/28/10 art it remind's me of LINDSAY LOHANS "GEORGIA RULE' from 2007. 3 stars
1/17/10 Anonymous good and unique 4 stars
1/08/09 Shaun Wallner Ricci is Hot!! 5 stars
3/27/07 fools♫gold A forgotten 90's masterpiece, much like Twelve Monkeys is. 5 stars
2/15/07 keep silent I just feel like to cry and laugh...what more need to be said? 5 stars
5/28/05 pvtvinay nothing 1 stars
4/17/04 Michael Greenwaldt A funny, outrageous, wicked, and entertaining film! It has some highly quotable dialogue! 4 stars
3/19/04 john makes obvious points and tries to sell them as modern wisdom - boring and somewhat cynical 2 stars
2/05/04 mansour sima 4 stars
1/05/04 cwlg420 Well worth watching, funny 4 stars
12/10/02 Breakwind Sharp, witty dialogues with some superb acting from Ricci and Kudrow. 5 stars
10/11/02 Chancey Sugarpants The Opposite of Sex, Indeed. Sex is fun... this is not. 1 stars
12/09/01 Keith Christina Ricci gives a very good performance. I kinda like it. 4 stars
3/29/01 Monday Morning Some of the finer one-liners in movie history. CR is outstanding too. 4 stars
2/13/01 Richard Wright I LURVE the central idea,why the confused treatment?Riccis wonderful performance is wasted. 2 stars
10/16/00 Dan Ricci is excellent and Lisa Kudrow really surprises. Very well acted, colourful comedy. 5 stars
10/05/00 Spetters Everyone is great in this film and it has some of the wittiest oneliners since many years. 5 stars
8/26/00 M Finke Much better then most rentals. 4 stars
2/26/00 Paul Really worth a look 4 stars
11/02/99 Bozo there's alot going on here; ricci is great & so is ivan segei 5 stars
8/17/99 Ramsay tries too hard, didn't hold my interest 2 stars
6/28/99 The Bomb 69 take it as a comedy and not a drama and it kicks ass!! 5 stars
6/26/99 David It works, real funny dialogue...too bad it's not cinematic 4 stars
4/13/99 Jon Jackson Damn witty Skippy! 4 stars
3/09/99 Go Swans One of the funniest, original films in years. Ricci isn't Wednesday anymore. 4 stars
2/01/99 Vick Di Brecci Didn't really go anywhere. Don't find Ricci particularly sexy. 3 stars
1/07/99 bizzy i can't decide whether i love it or loathe it 3 stars
12/10/98 George Morgan Highly entertaining performance by Lisa Kudrow. She steals the whole movie. 4 stars
11/24/98 roxy i hate christina ricci 3 stars
11/20/98 Evil Buffy drak offensive comedy. but funny. thought the characters + storytelling make the film. ivan 4 stars
11/12/98 Lord Of The Dunce Ricci has been lucky with her roles, but I just don't know if she's gonna step up. Good. 4 stars
11/05/98 Nate Dogg Kick ass.... if only they would have shown Ricci's beautiful cans... 4 stars
10/23/98 Christ Monkey Good dialogue and interesting narration device, but kind of silly. It left me immediately. 3 stars
9/21/98 MR HOLLYWOOD KOOL!!,Riccis excellent,silly plot,bit slow BUT harmless FUN ! 4 stars
9/08/98 Young Einstein Ricci doing the wildd thing was worth price of admission. Average movie. 4 stars
9/06/98 Gary Great / Ricci's narration was excellent 4 stars
9/04/98 Badass A mess. Ricci was good, but the story contridicts itself too much. A very poor script. 2 stars
8/24/98 The Capital City Goofball "I'm not gay, I'm bi." "I've been to a bar mitzphah, that doesn't mean I'm Jewish!" 4 stars
8/23/98 Mister Whoopee Ricci is hot. I take it all back. She's hot. 4 stars
8/16/98 Johny Some parts worked, others didn't. Average. 3 stars
8/13/98 {{OZ}} Signs of cool, not overlty offensive, funny enough 3 stars
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  14-Apr-1998 (R)
  DVD: 17-Nov-1998


  13-Aug-1998 (MA)

Directed by
  Don Roos

Written by
  Don Roos

  Christina Ricci
  Martin Donovan
  Lisa Kudrow
  Lyle Lovett
  Johnny Galecki
  Ivan Sergei

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