Wickedly evil dialogue fills this movie
Bruce Barker | NC | 10/30/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I'm a long-time fan of this film and I finally took the time to read all the reviews and comments already here at Amazon to find out what others thought. Usually I don't add reviews to a film with an existing body of comments, feeling I have little to add to what others have already said, but in this case I'm making an exception.
One actor commented in another review that the performances come across as a cold read. While I agree with that opinion of some of the performances, acting is not my forte. I'm a writer and my appreciation of this film is for the wonderful script. If you like your comedy dark and uncompromising, (think Heathers) then you will enjoy some of the crackling and sarcastic dialogue waiting for you in this story.
The plot itself isn't designed to bring compelling comparisons to Citizen Kane. The characters are ignorant, easily manipulated, individuals. Contented and in some cases arrogantly complacent people have their lives turned upside down by the arrival of a trailer-trash backwater tramp. It's a common enough contrivance to twist the "fish out of water" plot, but Ricci plays her part as one who is better prepared for her new environment than those that already call it home. Her performance is a tour de force and this film was the exact transitional point in her career that allowed her to move from the "goth child" whimsy of her early films into the sexier and more adult fare she tends to favor today. Her acting is actually a cut above what she delivers in films like Monster, where she at times seemed almost in awe of her costar. Here she takes center stage and the only real competitor in sight is Lisa Kudrow, who gives an uneven but wickedly sharp-tongued turn.
An example of the dialogue I referenced earlier is provided by Kudrow in fact. Early in the film, Ricci announces she has become pregnant by her brother's gay lover. Kudrow turns to the brother and says, "I thought you were gay!" He informs her that he is bisexual and without missing a beat Kudrow retorts, "Oh PLEASE! I went to a Bar Mitzvah once and it didn't make me Jewish!" Her delivery of this line is full of such venom that half of the audience I saw it with was deeply offended while the other half, myself included, burst out in loud and approving laughter.
Such is the nature of black comedy. It walks the fine line between offense and hysteria. When it misses the mark, as is often the case in lesser scripts, the entire film suffers. When it finds the balance it delights as many people as it offends. Such is the case with The Opposite of Sex. The majority of reviewers here have adored the crisp dialogue, and a vocal minority found themselves offended or lost.
Amazon recently dropped the price of this movie and while the older $20 price tag may have made it a risky choice for someone who hasn't already seen the film, at the new lower cost it's worth every penny to give this movie the chance it deserves. If nothing else, it's a chance to watch a young talent make the successful transition into adult-flavored roles that have eluded so many other child actors and actresses.