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The Opposite of Sex Movie Review

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Dedee Truitt is a Bitch with a Capital B. Christina Ricci, on the other hand, is an enormously likeable actress, no matter who she's playing (Kate Flax in Mermaids, Bonnie in The Hard Way, Wednesday in The Addams Family/Values, Jessica in The Cemetery Club, Kat in Casper, Roberta in Now and Then, Beth Easton in Gold Diggers: The Secret of Bear Mountain, Dee Dee in Bastard Out of Carolina, Erin in Last of the High Kings/Summer Fling, Wendy Hood in The Ice Storm, Patti in That Darn Cat, Shelly in Pecker, Lucy in Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas)…. For a girl who turns 20 in the year 2000, Ricci gets around! For every career break Ricci's received, she's earned THREE. The Opposite of Sex opens with Dedee leaving home after the death of her much-hated stepfather. She proceeds to make the life of her sweet gay older brother Bill (Martin Donovan) an absolute nightmare. Bill is mourning the death of his sweet gay lover Tom (Colin Ferguson) and living with stupid-but-gorgeous Matt Mateo (Ivan Sergei). Dedee needs a father for her forthcoming son because her boyfriend Randy, the actual father (William Lee Scott), is a complete lunatic, so she seduces Matt and convinces him that HE'S going to be a Daddy. To further complicate matters, Matt's OTHER boyfriend Jason (Johnny Galecki) is still carrying a torch for him, Tom's sister Lucia (Lisa Kudrow) thinks she's in love with Bill, and Sheriff Carl Tippett (Lyle Lovett) believes he's in love with Lucia. The key word in that last sentence is “complicate,” because that's precisely what EVERYONE, especially narrator Dedee, does with everyone else's lives for 105 minutes. Dedee is so much more than a defective narrator, she's an absolute MENACE! If she were telling me a campfire tale, I'd throw a batch of s'mores at her! But the wise, sly performance of Ricci keeps reminding me that whatever happens, I won't be disappointed and I'm not. Donovan is the master of the slow burn. There are ZILLIONS of things going on in his interior world and he only lets one or two of them surface. Through my eyes, this makes him one of THE most fascinating actors of his generation. Watch him with a scene thief like Adrienne Shelly in Trust or with Ricci and Kudrow here—this man is an underrated genius! (But do siblings arrive 23 years apart? Skip it!) As for Kudrow, what can I say? Sidesplitting, yes. Mistress of timing, yes. An actress who's funny as opposed to a shtick comedienne, yes, yes, yes. All of the above. To date, there seems no limit to what this talented jewel can do, on small OR large screens. Johnny Galecki, who more than held his own as Ira Reder opposite Christopher Walken in The Suicide Kings, creates another vivid character out of whole cloth. You'll scarcely believe you're watching the same actor. And Lovett is MY idea of a sheriff. However, Los Angeles is no one's idea of Louisiana or Indiana, where The Opposite of Sex takes place. (It reminds me of the Hyde Street cable car in San Francisco identified as New York City in Attack of the Killer Tomatoes, actually.) Naturally, no one IN Los Angeles would be as odd as this bunch. Premiered at Sundance, 1998.

1998 (R) 105m/C Christina Ricci, Martin Donovan, Lisa Kudrow, Ivan Sergei, Lyle Lovett, Johnny Galecki, William Lee Scott, Colin Ferguson; D: Don Roos; W: Don Roos; C: Hubert Taczanowski; M: Mason Daring. Independent Spirit Awards ‘99: Best First Feature, Best Screenplay; National Board of Review Awards ‘98: Best Supporting Actress (Ricci); New York Film Critics Awards ‘98: Best Supporting Actress (Kudrow); Nominations: Golden Globe Awards ‘99: Best Actress—Musical/Comedy (Ricci); Independent Spirit Awards ‘99: Best Actress (Ricci), Best Supporting Actress (Kudrow); Writers Guild of America ‘98: Best Screenplay. VHS, Closed Caption, DVD

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