The Opposite of Sex
|The Opposite of Sex|
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Don Roos|
|Written by||Don Roos|
|Music by||Mason Daring|
|Edited by||David Codron|
|Distributed by||Sony Pictures Classics|
|Box office||$5.9 million|
Sixteen-year-old Dedee Truitt (Christina Ricci) runs away from home. She is pregnant by her ex-boyfriend, Randy Cates (William Lee Scott). Not revealing her pregnancy, Dedee eventually moves in with her much older half-brother Bill (Martin Donovan), a gay teacher in a conservative, suburban community in Saint Joseph County, Indiana.
Although he is living with Matt (Ivan Sergei), Bill still mourns the loss of his previous partner, Tom, who died of AIDS some time ago. Bill maintains a friendship with Tom's younger sister, Lucia (Lisa Kudrow), who idolized her brother.
Dedee seduces Matt, then tricks him into believing he has impregnated her. They elope, leaving Bill and Lucia to track them down.
Bill and Lucia find Dedee and Matt, only to discover Dedee has stolen Tom's ashes and is holding them for ransom. Randy also finds Dedee; they inform Matt that they are taking the ashes and moving away. They escape but soon get into an argument that leads to Dedee accidentally shooting Randy. She and Matt escape to Canada.
Bill eventually tracks down Matt and Dedee. Dedee goes into labor and Bill accompanies her into the delivery room. After giving birth to her son, Dedee returns Tom's ashes to Bill, apologizing for her actions in the past year.
Lucia and Bill have a falling out after Lucia implies that Tom died as a result of having gay sex. Despondent, Lucia has a one-night stand with Sheriff Carl Tippett (Lyle Lovett) who had previously made unsuccessful romantic overtures to her. Lucia soon discovers that she is pregnant.
Dedee ends up serving time in prison, leaving her son in Bill's care while she's incarcerated. After a few months, she moves back in with Bill, while Matt goes traveling, and Lucia gives birth to her own child. Eventually, Dedee decides that her son would be better off with Bill, who is now dating Dedee's parole officer, and runs away.
Dedee sarcastically concludes that sex is precisely the opposite of what people should want, leading as it does to kids, disease or, worst of all, relationships. At the end of the film, the vignettes of the various caring relationships among the characters show the opposite of superficial sexual gratification.
- Christina Ricci as Dedee Truitt
- Ivan Sergei as Matt Mateo
- Martin Donovan as Bill Truitt
- Lisa Kudrow as Lucia De Lury
- Lyle Lovett as Carl Tippett
- William Lee Scott as Randy Cates
- Johnny Galecki as Jason Bock
- Colin Ferguson as Tom De Lury
For its North American run, The Opposite of Sex took in film rentals of $5,881,367. The opening weekend saw a per screen average of $20,477 for the 5 theaters showing it.
Janet Maslin in The New York Times called it a "gleefully acerbic comedy". Christina Ricci's performance was widely praised, she also received a Golden Globe nomination for Best Actress in a Comedy. Roger Ebert especially enjoyed the voice-over narration supplied in-character by Ricci, calling it "refreshing" and comparing it to Mystery Science Theater 3000:
When you've seen enough movies, alas, you can sense the gears laboriously turning, and you know with a sinking heart that there will be no surprises. The Dede character subverts those expectations; she shoots the legs out from under the movie with perfectly timed zingers. I hate people who talk during movies, but if she were sitting behind me in the theater, saying all of this stuff, I'd want her to keep right on talking.
Overall, the film scored an 80% on the Rotten Tomatoes site.
American Film Institute recognition:
The film began in the aftermath of another film Don Roos had been working on that had shut down when the lead actress left it, putting Roos in house-bound funk. He had a mental image of a woman throwing a chair into an open grave at a funeral and from that one image grew the script of The Opposite of Sex.
Production began on June 8, 1997, with the filming of a library scene between Kudrow and Donovan that would ultimately be cut from the finished film. The restaurant scene was shot at the closed Chasen's restaurant site (Dan Bucatinsky, Roos' life-partner, makes a cameo during this scene as the waiter).
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