Monday, 1 August 2011

100 days, 100 films; Day 46 - The Opposite Of Sex

#55 - The Opposite Of Sex:

So today I’ll be revisiting the beloved comedy genre. I hope the sarcasm got translated well over there since you should know by now I’m not a comedy person. I actually first watched this movie expecting a comedy but I was a little surprised to find it was more dramatic, but it does have some comedy moments. Call it a black comedy without actually any black people in it (OMG how racist of the casting people! No diversity!). This little piece is definitely a tad cynical and the narrator is so not politically correct it can be a little hard to take. A lot of the time you will be wondering “did she really just say that?” but hey it adds to the comedic tone. Not that being non PC is funny of course...

The narrator is Dedee Truitt who is sixteen and is frankly white trash from Louisiana. Her stepfather has just died and she decides to run away from home and moves in with her much older half-brother Bill in Indiana, who just happens to be gay. Dedee takes a fancy to his boyfriend Matt and one thing leads to another and eventually Dedee and Matt are “consummating like bunnies”. Inevitably Dedee gets pregnant so she and Matt take off for Los Angeles, swiping a good sum of money from Bill’s savings account. Bill and his friend (for lack of a better word) Lucia take off after them trying to track them down. Meanwhile a former lover of Matt’s cooks up a molestation story about Bill in jealousy for some reason and everyone begins to wonder whether or not Matt really is the father of Dedee’s baby.

First of all this film is incredibly cynical, and that just makes it all the more funny. Dedee the narrator is well aware of all the typical teen movie formulas and clichés and she makes a point to defy them whenever possible. She also knows full well that she’s in a movie, adding a nice comic twist to a lot of the scenes. Christina Ricci who plays her does a great job as the cynical and snarky girl and I believe we have yet another candidate to take over after Morgan Freeman’s narrator duties. Miss Ricci is equalled in ice, cynicism and snarkiness by none other than Lisa “Phoebe Buffay” Kudrow as Lucia. Now Lucia is a far cry from the zany and happy-go-lucky Phoebe in that she’s a sexually repressed spinster who has a cynical look of the world. Lucia really gets the best lines such as when Matt says he’s bisexual she remarks “please, I went to a Bar Mitzvah once, that doesn’t make me Jewish”. She’s really someone you don’t like, in spite of being hilarious, but eventually you’ll warm to her. Charmed fans will recognise Ivan “Henry” Sergei playing Matt who appears to be the film’s bicycle since three of the main characters have boned him though only one is actually shown doing it (it’s the girl obviously). He’s funny as the dumb guy and is a bit more subtle in his comic performance than Lisa is. One scene where Lucia is talking about trimesters and Matt says “I wanted her to go back to school too”. Think about it...
There is someone who you will really want to strangle in this film and that is Johnny Galecki who plays Jason. I feel sorry for Johnny since both films he’s been in on my list, he’s played an asshole. Anyway Jason is probably as flamboyant as it’s possible to be and manages to be even more annoying than Sean Tully from Coronation Street. What a coincidence, both of them never get their comeuppances. Jason gets Bill suspended from his teaching job, his reputation ruined and forces him to have dealings with the police. And he never gets punished for that since he ends up getting the guy in the end. Well there is one gratuitous scene where Bill exploits Jason’s nipple piercings to get information out of him so I guess that could count. Martin Donovan and Lyle Lovett also deliver good and likeable performances.

One of the ways this film’s comedy works is that it isn’t slapsticky or thrown at you in the form of jokes every minute. It comes from the situations the characters find themselves in and the relationships between them. The conversations between Dedee and Lucia are probably the most hilarious ones, notably a scene where Dedee and Matt are trying to get even more money out of Bill and of course Lucia is arguing so Dedee reveals that she’s robbed Lucia’s brother’s ashes. Then there’s another moment where Matt, Dedee and Dedee’s other boyfriend Randy are all arguing in the house with Bill and Lucia crouched in the bushes outside and Dedee fires a gun into the air to shut everyone up. Another priceless scene is where Matt and Dedee reveal they’re together. Yes, Lucia is in that scene as well giving some of the film’s best lines such as this exchange:

Dedee: “Who said anything about getting married?”
Matt: “You don’t want to get married?”
Dedee: “I just don’t think it’s something we should rush into”
Lucia: “No but bring another human life onto the planet, that’s whim time (!) Am I the only one who wants to kill someone right now?”
Dedee: “You wish”

So that’s another film down and I managed to stomach yet another comedy, albeit a cynical and subtle one. I found Lisa Kudrow and Christina Ricci to be pleasant surprises in this and I believe they should have been nominated for some form of award for their performances. I mean if Gwyneth Paltrow could win, anyone can right? As far as the film’s title goes, I really don’t think we ever found out what the opposite of sex actually is apart from Dedee mentioning that she wants it. With regards to the ending, I genuinely believe she did go back. Well I think she sat on the curb for a good while before deciding to go back. She just didn’t want the audience to see her soften up since she swore she wouldn’t grow a heart of gold. Until next time then and don’t forget to follow me on Twitter.

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