The Opposite Of Sex
Screenwriter Don Roos' (Diabolique, Single White Female, Boys On The Side) directorial debut tells the story of a 16-year-old femme fatale (Christina Ricci) who runs away from home and moves in with her gay schoolteacher half-brother (Martin Donovan). She then promptly seduces Donovan's boyfriend (Ivan Sergei) and flees with him to greener pastures, but not before stealing a good deal of her half-brother's money. Joining Donovan in his search for Ricci are Lisa Kudrow, as an unhappy teacher nursing a longtime crush on Donovan, and Lyle Lovett, as a stone-faced police officer who's sweet on Kudrow. In his screenwriting endeavors, Roos has developed a reputation for writing manipulative yet ruthlessly effective "women's pictures." While the abundant tastelessness of his latest film might seem worlds away from his glossy previous work, The Opposite Of Sex ultimately shows itself to be every bit as calculated and manipulative, managing to be consistently clever without ever being funny. The film is so in love with its own carefully calibrated outrageousness that it doesn't bother to give its characters any depth beyond sitcom-level stereotypes. Ricci, in particular, is ill-served by Roos' bitchy, hollow script: Though her character is supposed to be the seductive linchpin that holds the film together, she gives a shrill, uninspired performance that runs the narrow gamut from sullenly irritating to aggressively nasty. The other performers are similarly hampered by the flimsiness of their conception: Kudrow plays yet another damp variation on her Friends character, while Donovan is stuck playing Ricci's straight-arrow half-brother as a cardboard saint untouched by the sea of depravity in which he finds himself.