Friday, January 12, 2007

Movie Review: The Opposite Of Sex 3 ½ Stars

Let’s say sex isn’t for procreation or recreation, but concentration.

Christina Ricci seems like she wants to stick around for a while. At the very least, she is choosing roles that guarantee her a significant shelf-life. In the last few years, Wednesday Addams has done some seriously solid work in The Ice Storm, Buffalo ’66 and Don Roos’ directorial debut, The Opposite Of Sex.

Roos’ ’98 Sundance entry keeps its tongue planted firmly in cheek while we follow Dedee (Ricci), a sixteen year-old bitch on the run. With her running commentary, Dedee lets us know the score immediately. “I don’t have a heart of gold, and I don’t grow one later.” It’s not a statement we have a hard time swallowing after watching her trash her stepfather’s funeral and then proceed to demolish a slew of other lives.

After blowing out of Louisiana, Dedee seeks refuge in suburban Indiana with her half-brother, Bill (Martin Donovan), a gay school teacher who is loaded with both dough and grief after the death of his lover. In no time, Dedee manages to seduce Bill’s new boyfriend, Matt (Ivan Sergei), get pregnant with his child and steal away with Matt and $10,000 of Bill’s money. While Bill is too affable and detached to pass judgement, Lucia (Lisa Kudrow), the sister of his ex-lover and Bill’s best friend, serves as the conscience and rudder of the story.

There’s a lot going on here—all kinds of deception, drama and adventure--but the whole movie really centers around what people truly want out of sex and life. Kudrow is hysterical as a frigid old maid who finally learns about the long and short-term joys of exchanging “fluids.” In the end, even Dedee, who has only used sex as leverage, grows something resembling a heart--it’s just that she tells us to “go the hell home” before we can witness it.

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