It’s 2 AM and you awake with a jerk, alone in your fully-lit apartment and still on the couch. On TV, the credits of some movie you’ve already seen a billion times are scrolling by. It feels like rock bottom. And we know, because we’re just like you: single.
Need a movie to keep you company until you literally can’t keep your eyes open? Join us tonight when we pass out to The Opposite of Sex [starting @ 11:30 p.m. on IFC]
Why we’ll try to stay up and watch it: In the worlds seeming daily quest to make us feel old, we give you The Opposite of Sex. This May marks the 11th anniversary of its release. Eleven years! Seriously? That it feels like The Opposite of Sex came out last week certainly scares us, but also points to the unquestionable fact that the movie was well ahead of its time. Suffice it to say, there is simply no way Diablo Cody could have written Juno without first watching Don Roos’ similarly themed film.
Like Juno, The Opposite of Sex centers on a pregnant sixteen-year-old and her various misadventures. Here though, it’s Christina Ricci as Dedee Truitt, a girl who spends the length of the film drinking, smoking and pretty much acting like a charter member of Keith Olbermann’s Worst Person in the World segment. She is so foul, in fact, that at one point she actually steals a person’s cremated ashes. Ms. Ricci will always be number one in our hearts for this performance mainly because she takes what should be a completely unsympathetic character and makes her so very.
Special mention must also be given to Lisa Kudrow who is a revelation as Dedee’s nemesis. The Opposite of Sex came out during the height of Friends, so at the time it was pretty shocking to see Ms. Kudrow play such an acerbic and caustic pill—she’s since done variations on that persona in The Comeback and P.S., I Love You. That Ms. Kudrow is very funny isn’t all that groundbreaking—the woman is a fairly gifted comedienne—but that she imbues her character with such heartbreaking sadness is truly a testament to her skills. Apologies to Dame Judi Dench, but the Best Supporting Actress from 1998 was Ms. Kudrow… and she didn’t even get nominated.
When we’ll probably fall asleep: Mr. Roos doesn’t just load up his clever movie with voice-over narration; he loads it up with self-referential voice-over narration. As Dedee says in the opening minutes, “If you’re one of those people who don’t like movies where some person you can’t see talks the whole time and covers up all the holes in the plot and at the end says, ‘I was never the same after that summer’ or whatever, like it was so deep they can’t stand it… then you’re out of luck.” And sure enough, throughout The Opposite of Sex, Ms. Ricci gives the audience glimpses into the art of the screenplay (“This part where I take the gun is like, um, important”). So we’ll make it until 12:30, about an hour into the film. During a contentious, violent and downright scary spat with her sometime-boyfriend, a gun goes off. Dedee is shown lying on the bed, blood next to her head; the boyfriend is on top of her, unmoving. Then, the seconds-long silence is broken by Dedee: “What did you think, I’d be the dead one? I’m the fucking narrator guys! Keep up!” That sound you just heard was Robert McKee putting his fist through a wall.
Follow Christopher Rosen via RSS.