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OPPOSITE OF SEX

SYNOPSIS:
The 16 year old Dedee (Christina Ricci) runs away from her troubled Louisiana home and arrives on the doortsep of her older half brother, Bill (Martin Donovan), a schoolteacher in suburban Indiana. She is greeted by Bill’s live-in lover, Matt (Ivan Segei), whom she eventually manages to seduce, much to the I-told-you-so of Lucia (Lisa Kudrow), the sister of Bill’s late lover, who died of AIDS. Lucia hangs around trying to protect Bill, and when Dedee announces she is pregnant with Matt's baby, all hell breaks loose, especially Lucia. The newly bi-sexual Matt is easy fodder for Dedee, who persuades him to steal some money from Bill (left well off by his late lover) and make a run for it. Matt’s troubles escalate when his jilted and jealous ex-lover Jason (Johnny Galecki) frames him for sexual harassment. The friendly sheriff (Lyle Lovett) gets into the act, only to fall for Lucia, who has always thought that sex was a messy and useless function, and Dedee’s immature boyfriend becomes a catalyst for events that change everyone’s lives – even more.

"Ricci and Kudrow have the time of their lives in the roles of their lives to help make this one of the most entertaining and unpredictable films of the year. Ricci’s confident characterisation of an overconfident 16 year old (she’s once referred to in dialogue as 17, but never mind) is award winning stuff, as is Kudrow’s repressed but quick witted Lucia (as in Loosha, she insists). Risking everything with a narration (by Ricci’s Dedee) that invites audience antagonism for its offhand, smart arse, over-cool and far too street smart young girl, writer/director Don Roos delivers a marvellously sardonic film that nevertheless finds itself imbued with the warmth of human kindness in the cracks and crevices of the characters. Inventive, intelligent, always funny (even when being brutal) and never predictable, The Opposite of Sex touches on almost every aspect of sexuality and throws down the gauntlet to be labelled by any. The best thing about it is that while it has its jokey, wildly assertive, in your face kind of feel, the script, performances and direction actually leave behind something of value that has been transmitted beneath the hip surface."
Andrew L. Urban

"Delightfully offbeat with a quirky, witty script and with more throwaway lines than a chocolate bar has calories, Opposite of Sex is a light-hearted comedy that is weighted by darker undertones and deeper meanings beneath the surface. Ricci plays the precocious poisonous teen brat with sassy abandon and attitude. She is perfect for the role: the deadpan delivery, the wide-eyed innocent look, hiding a multitude of sins and abominable thoughts. But she manages to make this teen monster appealing, and that’s credit to her. The vehicle allows her to deliver the kind of commentary (rather than narration) that colours the character, and appeals to the viewer to look at things a particular way. It’s a solid cast and it shines; Martin Donovan, as the ever-patient, calm, rational teacher, ever mindful of grammar; Lisa Kudrow as the angry, bitter old maid; Ivan Sergei uses his looks to good avail, while Lyle Lovett as the sherriff with the face like a broken clock - time doesn’t move it. The body language is appealing, the journey rewarding: Opposite of Sex is fun, bright and a jaunty journey during one sizzling summer when life goes a little over the rails and lives are wounded, shaped and analysed. It’s cute, it’s clever, and eminently watchable."
Louise Keller

"Here is a sparkling, brilliantly funny, witty gem of a movie, something with plenty of well-observed depth and sense of character. Ricci is an actress who never ceases to amaze and astonish, and here, her skilful and sardonic portrayal of Dedee Truitt, a latter day Scarlett O'Hara, is one of THE performances of the year. Ricci truly, in this film, embodies the sexually permissive adolescent of the nineties, a worldly young woman whose single-mindedness is also her biggest flaw. To watch Ricci seductively glide her way through this deliciously malevolent creature is alone worth the price of admission. But the film is full of many beautifully realised moments, in a script that is intricate, sharply satiric, and wonderfully executed. Apart from Ricci, the other surprise is Lisa Kudrow, whose sexually repressed Lucia is the actress's best work and poles away from her ditsy TV image. Lyle Lovett also shines as the quiet town sheriff with a yen for Lucia, and Martin Donovan excels as the gay half-brother, Bill. Full of memorable moments, The Opposite of Sex is a funny, yet insightful work about the pains, fragilities and unpredictabilities of contemporary relationships and sexuality, without resorting to mindless cliché. It's a remarkable, polished work, and it never insults the intelligence of its audience."
Paul Fischer

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CRITICAL COUNT
Favourable: 3
Unfavourable: 0
Mixed: 0
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See Paul Fischer's interview with
LISA KUDROW

OPPOSITE OF SEX, THE (M)
(US)

 

CAST: Christina Ricci, Martin Donovan, Lisa Kudrow, Lyle Lovett, Johnny Galecki, Ivan Sergei, William Scott Lee

DIRECTOR: Don Roos

PRODUCER: David Kirkpatrick, Michael Besman

SCRIPT: Don Roos

CINEMATOGRAPHER: Hubert Taczanowski

EDITOR: David Codron

MUSIC: Mason Daring

PRODUCTION DESIGN: Michael Paul Clausen

RUNNING TIME: 101 minutes

AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Columbia TriStar

AUSTRALIAN RELEASE DATE: August 13, 1998

VIDEO RELEASE: October 11, 1999

VIDEO DISTRIBUTOR: Col TriStar

RRP: $24.95







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