Movie Review By Andrea Chase
Don Roos, who wrote "Boys on the Side" takes a calculated risk with his very smart comedy, "The Opposite of Sex," which he also directed. He bets that we'll be fascinated by the comic adventures of one Deedee Truitt, a vile excuse for a human being. He's right.
Maybe because she's one, not stupid and two, so up front about it. From the get go, her voice-over is a clear and dead-on detail her philosophy of life, which includes political incorrectness and just plain cussedness for its own sake. As she sums it up, nice people are losers. The thing is, though, while she's mocking goodness, truth, and tolerance, and taking on cinematic cliches, she manages with forthright conviction, to find the audience's weak spots. Which is say, she says what enlightened people sometimes find themselves thinking in spite of themselves. She's an ill wind, but also an odd breath of fresh air with her finely observed nihilism.
Deedee foists herself onto her much older, all gay, half-brother, Martin, who obviously doesn't know what he's getting into by inviting her into his home. Or maybe, because he's her polar opposite, his sense of responsibility gets the better of him. In either case, before you can say look out, Deedee has upended his life and that of his current boyfriend, and his current boyfriend's boyfriend, not to mention that of his dead lover's sister, and her ardent but rejected suitor. And that's in the first half-hour. Disaster is heaped upon disaster until the whole mess mushrooms into a media event.
Christina Ricci, all grown up and turned into the dark side of Drew Barrymore plays Deedee with the same straight face that made Wednesday Addams so creepy and funny at the same time. Martin Donovan is properly stoic as her patient brother. Lisa Kudrow leaves the ditz behind as the acid-tounged spinster. And Lyle Lovett as the sweet, love-sick policeman gets to deliver the rebuttal to all the pain that love causes with a speech about what sex is for that alone is worth the price of admission.
"The Opposite of Sex" is sharp with all the insight and compassion that Deedee lacks. Don't get me wrong, though, this movie is way too sharp to be even close to sappy, and that's the neatest trick Don Roos pull off here.
© 1998 - Andrea Chase - Air Date: 6/10/98
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