The Opposite Of Sex review

Don Roos' clever little indie flick sees the Single White Female writer finally take the directorial reins for one of his own scripts. And if the quality of this effort is anything to go by, then Roos could easily develop into an extraordinary film-maker.

The Opposite Of Sex is a story told with considerable wit and skill, containing wonderfully acerbic swipes at America's attitudes to sex and relationships. The voluptuous Dedee (Ricci as you've never seen her before) is an almost amoral force of Nature, as she begins destroying Bill's life with almost careless precision - personal gratification seems to be her sole, driving aim.

Using Dedee as the story's omnipresent narrator, Roos also has a bit of fun at the audience's expense by subverting conventional storytelling techniques with real relish. Dedee's snide and sneering commentary runs over the split-screen scenes, while the fictional vignettes deliberately confuse expectations, forcing the audience into a more active interpretation of the story.

But the major problem with Dedee's overwhelmingly Machiavellian role is lack of sympathy. As the teen bitch's conniving machinations gradually unfold, it's hard not to feel a mounting sense of annoyance at the other characters' boundless gullibility. Bill is so absurdly kind-hearted it's almost his downfall, while his lover Matt (Sergei) is a pleasant but frustratingly naïve dope, smoothly seduced by Ricci's tramp. Roos is obviously trying to score satirical points here but does so at the expense of credible characterisation.

Oddly enough, it's far easier to identify with Lucia's (Kudrow) perspective on the whole sordid mess. Even though she's a deeply unhappy and repressed individual after her brother's (Bill's long-time partner) death, she's still the only one capable of seeing what Dedee is plotting.

Flaws aside, this is a smart and entertaining black comedy with some serious comments about personal politics. Unfortunately, the characterisations wobble slightly when they clash with Dedee's cynical manipulations.

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