[Screen It]


(1998) (Christina Ricci, Martin Donovan) (R)

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Drama/Comedy: A brash, acerbically tongued, sixteen-year-old girl visits her gay half brother and turns his world upside down.
Sixteen-year-old Dedee Truitt (CHRISTINA RICCI) is a highly opinionated, acerbically tongued young woman who runs away from her Louisiana home to visit her gay half brother, Bill (MARTIN DONOVAN). He's a devoted, small town teacher who's been left financially independent by his former lover who died of AIDS.

Trying to get on with his life, he now has a new boyfriend, Matt Mateo (IVAN SERGEI). Lucia (LISA KUDROW), Bill's repressed friend and his late lover's sister, however, doesn't like Matt and thinks he's a dimwit. Her suspicions are confirmed when Dedee convinces Matt to sleep with her. Bill is shocked that Matt cheated on him and by the fact that Dedee claims she's pregnant by him.

She and Matt then steal $10,000 of Bill's money and hit the road, taking the ashes of Bill's dead lover as insurance. To complicate matters, Jason ( JOHNNY GALECKI), a former student of Bill's who is jealous that Matt was seeing Bill, claims that Bill sexually molested him years earlier in school, causing quite a scandal.

Needing to clear his name, Bill and Lucia head off in search of Dedee and Matt, hoping the latter can help set matters straight. Separately joining in the search are Sheriff Carl Tippett (LYLE LOVETT), a man Lucia initially can't stand, and Randy (WILLIAM LEE SCOTT), another of Dedee's lovers.

If they're fans of someone in the cast (particularly Ricci of "Casper" and the "Addams Family" movies or Kudrow from the TV show "Friends"), they just might.
For strong language and sex related dialogue and sexuality.
  • CHRISTINA RICCI plays a meanspirited and nasty sixteen-year-old who curses, smokes and has sex with several guys (resulting in her getting pregnant).
  • MARTIN DONOVAN plays Dedee's older half brother who is a reserved, gay school teacher.
  • LISA KUDROW plays a sarcastic "old maid" type woman who curses some and holds out no hope for romance in her life (although she does sleep with Carl).


    OUR TAKE: 2 out of 10
    Supposedly a humorous examination of sex and relationships in the '90's, "The Opposite of Sex" is a tedious experience filled with moderate to poor acting, lackluster direction, and a script that delivers few laughs and isn't nearly as clever as it tries to be. A more appropriate title for this picture might have been, "The Opposite of Good."

    Writer/director Don Roos (the writer of "Boys on the Side" and "Single White Female") makes his directorial debut with this feature. Trying extremely hard to be humorously clever in a self- referential way, the film may entertain younger moviegoers who may be fooled into believing he's succeeded, but few others will be able to stomach the proceedings -- and that's not even taking into account the behavior of the main character.

    As written, Didi is assumedly supposed to be something of a combination of Lolita and Alicia Silverstone's character in "Clueless." Acerbically tongued and filled with "piss and vinegar," she has all sorts of sarcastic and disparaging remarks about nearly everyone and life in general. While some may think her antisocial behavior is "cool," the only thing it does is make the audience (or at least most of them) instantly dislike her.

    Christina Ricci ("Casper," and the "Addams Family Movies") plays the part perfectly -- she's nothing but a meanspirited, nasty woman -- but little of the vile she spews forth is actually funny. Being a decidedly unsympathetic character (a point she emphasizes in her voice over narration), your only wish in the film is that she simply go away (or that the film breaks or the power goes out in the theater -- all having the same satisfactory end result). Unlike the similarly tempered character played by Jack Nicolson in "As Good As It Gets," you simply can't stand her character at any point during the story. That may be Roos' objective -- and if so, he succeeds -- but it's not a good way to make a movie.

    Fortunately, she does disappear after a while, and those replacing here are more sympathetic, but that doesn't make the film much better. Martin Donovan ("The Portrait of a Lady") plays his character with such a lack of zest that he might as well be touring with the Zombie Performing Troupe. Lisa Kudrow ("Romy & Michele's High School Reunion," TV's "Friends") gets to inhabit the most cleverly written character and nicely plays against her normal, bubbly "airhead" type. Her sarcastic insights are often funny, but they're the only bright spots to be found in this otherwise drab film.

    Beyond that, we're left with the main character's inane voice over narration that tries to be cute by mocking the audience's expectations (Dedee comments that she doesn't have a heart of gold and doesn't develop one by the story's end), but more often then not those moments are disastrously bad and certainly not funny. For example, Ricci's character tells us from the start that if we don't like voice over narration that explains everything (we don't), we're out of luck because we'll need her help to understand the proceedings (not true).

    That's simply an attempt to cleverly disguise a cheap, narrative element to cover other bad writing. For instance, our not-so-humble narrator points out a handgun she's taking with her by saying, "This part about taking the gun is like -- DUH! -- important. If you're smart, you won't forget that I've got it...

    I'm sure some older teens and others in their early twenties will think this film's clever, hip and a laugh-a-minute riot. If your idea of humor comes from that "cute" voice over narration, or jokes about a guy with one testicle, various (but inconsistent) jabs at homosexuals, or having a sixteen- year-old who drinks and smokes while pregnant, maybe you'll agree. For everyone else, however, we suggest skipping this meanspirited, particularly unfunny movie. We give "The Opposite of Sex" a 2 out of 10.

    Here's a summary of the film's more objectionable content. Profanity is extreme with more than 30 "f" words as well as an assortment of other expletives and "colorful" phrases, and we also hear some sexually related dialogue. Several sexual encounters (of varying degrees) occur, with some of them involving the sixteen-year-old main character who gets pregnant from one of them.

    That main character also drinks and smokes while pregnant and is a meanspirited little vixen. Some limited violence occurs resulting in one off screen death by gunshot. Since many kids might want to see this film (due to Ricci or hearing that it's supposed to be maliciously hip), you may want to further examine the content to see how appropriate it is for anyone in your home.

  • Bill, Matt, and Lucia have wine.
  • People drink at a wedding (in video footage).
  • Lucia drops a tray of beers after spotting people having sex in a car.
  • Dedee has a Long Island Ice Tea (while pregnant).
  • Carl brings Lucia some beer, but they drop it as they start making out.
  • We see some blood on the sheets after Dedee shoots a guy who was attacking her (we also see blood on her hands and what looks like a bloody abrasion on the side of her head).
  • Dedee's just delivered baby is rather bloody, as are the doctor's hands and Bill's surgical apron.
  • Dedee has extreme cases of both as she not only refers to her mother as a "loser bitch," but she also continually derides gay people (and AIDS) and others. At her stepfather's funeral, she throws her cigarette, flowers and a folding chair onto the coffin in the grave.
  • A student writes a derogatory comment about Mr. Truitt on the bathroom wall.
  • Dedee purposefully seduces Matt and he sleeps with her knowing she's a minor.
  • Some people may find offense at Lucia asking Dedee if she wants to get an abortion (very brief).
  • Dedee smokes and drinks while pregnant, knowing full well the risks.
  • Dedee and Matt steal $10,000 from Bill as well as the cremated ashes of his dead lover.
  • A woman being interviewed on TV says, "We're all Christians here...except for a few Jewish people who are born that way."
  • Jason falsely accuses Bill of sexually molesting him years ago when he was a student.
  • An unseen person throws a rock through Bill's widow, breaking it (because he's gay).
  • Lucia is initially mean or aloof to Carl (believing that he cheated on his dying wife, which he did, but with her knowledge).
  • Randy takes Dedee and slams her head against a stone wall in their motel room. She then clocks him on the head with a phone and tries to escape, but he grabs her, picks her up and throws her on the bed where they struggle (we don't see the latter, but do hear the struggling and then the sound of a gunshot as she shoots him dead).
  • A childbirth scene with Dedee screaming bloody murder may upset some viewers as might a scene moments later where there's a medical emergency concerning her (where we're led to believe that she dies, but she really doesn't).
  • Handgun: Carried by Dedee and fired once in the air to break up a fight and fired another time as she struggles with a gun and ends up shooting him dead.
  • Phrases: "F*ck off," "Blow job," "Blowing," "Screwed," "Screwing," "Boner," and "Woody" (all used sexually), "Bitch" (toward women), "Loser bitch," "Geek," "Ball" (testicle), "Losers," "Fairy" "Faggot" and "Mo" (for homosexuals), "Jerk," "Pisses you off," "Pissed off," "Creep," "Sorry ass," "Idiot," "Shut up," "Bastard," 'Freak," "Screwing this up," "Sucks" and "Screw up."
  • A student writes a derogatory comment on the wall about Mr. Truitt.
  • An unseen person throws a rock through Bill's widow, breaking it (because he's gay).
  • Jason gives some cops "the finger."
  • None.
  • There's just a minor bit of such music in one scene.
  • None.
  • At least 31 "f" words, 15 "s" words, 4 slang terms for male genitals (the "d" word and "pr*ck"), 8 asses (4 using "hole"), 4 hells, 4 damns, 2 S.O.B.'s, 2 craps, and 11 uses each of "God" and "Oh my God," 6 uses of "Jesus," 5 of "G-damn," 2 of "My God" and 1 use each of "Oh Jesus" and "Oh God" as exclamations.
  • Dedee shows some cleavage in the outfit she wears.
  • Dedee mentions that Randy is nice to anyone who would sleep with him and not make fun that he only has one testicle.
  • A student writes a derogatory comment about Mr. Truitt on the bathroom wall (it reads: "Mr. Truitt sucks it hard every Tuesday after yearbook"). We also see a partial sketch drawing of a nude woman on the wall.
  • Referring to gay sex, Dedee comments, "A blow job is a blow job...If you're giving one it's harder...It's rule number one about sex. If you don't breathe in you can do anything for ten minutes." She then refers to guys having their "dicks in each other's mouths."
  • Dedee confronts Matt with his homosexuality and asks whether he's ever slept with a woman (or a black person). As she has him put suntan lotion on her back, she undoes her top and shows him her breasts (we don't see anything but the very top of them) and asks whether they elicit any reaction from him (they don't). Then referring to the age difference (nine years) between him and Bill, Dedee says, "Basically, you're blowing your father."
  • Later we see Dedee and Matt making out on a bed and him opening a condom and then see just a bit of movement (they're still clothed at this moment). It's implied that they have sex and she later claims that she's pregnant from him (but we then learn it's from another guy with whom she also had sex).
  • Jason holds his own crotch and dances around. When Bill asks if he has a problem, Jason mentions a new piercing (down there).
  • In a flashback, Lucia discovers some people having sex in a car. We see the car rocking, hear some noises and partially see a man on top of another person with some movement (but no nudity, and that other person may be another man).
  • It's mentioned that Lucia was a virgin until she was twenty-eight.
  • Bill and Lucia spy on Dedee rolling around on a bed (clothed) with Randy. Dedee then mockingly refers to him as, "Mr. Who needs a rubber? I'll pull out in time."
  • Lucia confronts Carl and says that his wife was dying and "You screwed her nurse." He admits that it's true, but says that he did so with his wife's acknowledgment.
  • Dedee says to Randy that "Blowing you in your car every day after school" wasn't her "stairway to Heaven."
  • Lucia says "Vagina, vagina, vagina" to Bill and then asks if that does anything for him. He says that it doesn't do anything for anybody because it's too "clinical." Lucia then says that she doesn't understand sex, that it's a lot of trouble for not very much and she doesn't like the concept of exchanging body fluids.
  • Lucia and Carl have sex (we don't see anything, but Dedee comments that Lucia was a "talker" and that "all of that moaning would have taken her mind off Bill"). We later learn that she's pregnant from him.
  • A reporter asks Bill, "Did you have sex with the dead boy?"
  • Dedee shows some more cleavage as she talks about the bad aftermath of sex (babies, diseases, relationships, etc...).
  • Dedee smokes quite often during the film, while Lucia smokes a few times.
  • Other minor and background characters also smoke.
  • Dedee runs away from home after her stepfather's funeral (and refers to her mother as a "loser bitch.").
  • Teen pregnancy (Dedee is sixteen and pregnant after sleeping with several guys).
  • AIDS and how you can and cannot get that (Dedee has her own ideas).
  • An unseen person throws a rock through Bill's widow, breaking it.
  • Matt slugs Randy and the two then get into a brief fight on the bed that stops when Dedee shoots her handgun into the ceiling.
  • Randy takes Dedee and slams her head against a stone wall in their motel room. She then clocks him on the head with a phone and tries to escape, but he grabs her, picks her up and throws her on the bed where they struggle (we don't see the latter, but do hear the struggling and then the sound of a gunshot as she shoots him dead, perhaps accidentally, but we never know).
  • Bill kicks in a motel door.
  • Bill grabs Jason's nipple ring and twists it, making him talk (and causing him some pain).

  • Reviewed May 28, 1998

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