The Opposite of Sex |
directed by Don Roos
(Columbia Tristar, 1998)
I've wanted to see The Opposite of Sex for a few years now, ever since a videocassette trailer gave me a taste of its hysterically witty sexual hijinks. Well, the trailer misrepresented the movie, making it seem more of a comedy than it really is. Still, I'm glad I was enticed into watching it; the movie, while oftentimes more serious than I expected, is good storytelling indeed.
The plot focuses on Dedee Truitt (Christina Ricci), the sexually mature and motivated 16-year-old who flees her mother's home for refuge with her older half brother, Bill (Martin Donovan), who is both a public high school teacher and openly gay. Matt (Ivan Sergei) is Bill's live-in beau, an earnest, if credulous young man who falls easy prey to Dedee's machinations.
Orbiting this twisted threesome are an array of fascinating characters. Foremost among them is Lucia (Lisa Kudrow), a bitter spinster who mourns her gay brother's death and nurtures a not-so-secret yearning for his former lover, Bill. Jason (Johnny Galecki) is a gay youth, who may or may not be having a secret affair with Matt but who is unquestionably trying to blackmail Bill with tales of impropreity in school. Carl (Lyle Lovett) is a steady if bland sheriff who dotes on Lucia. And Randy (William Lee Scott) is Dedee's mildly deformed, Bible-thumping sometimes-lover.
The story is convoluted but interesting throughout. It's not always comedic, true, but Kudrow can always be counted on to drop an acerbic comment at the right moment to garner a chuckle. Too, Ricci's sardonic narration is wonderfully witty and -- fair warning for the easily offended -- politically incorrect to an amazing extreme.
This movie isn't for everyone, and those uncomfortable with blatant homosexuality should probably stay far away. However, anyone with a reasonably open mind should have a treat with this dark comedy and sexual psychodrama, which is certainly one of the more unique films I've seen in a while.
[ by Tom Knapp ]