The Opposite of Sex

The Opposite of Sex
The Opposite of Sex

Theatrical release poster
Directed by Don Roos
Produced by Michael Besman
David Kirkpatrick
Written by Don Roos
Starring Christina Ricci
Martin Donovan
Lisa Kudrow
Lyle Lovett
Johnny Galecki
Ivan Sergei
Music by Mason Daring
Cinematography Hubert Taczanowski
Editing by David Codron
Distributed by Sony Pictures Classics
Release date(s) May 22, 1998 (1998-05-22)
Running time 105 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $5 million

The Opposite of Sex is a 1998 film written and directed by Don Roos. It stars Christina Ricci, Martin Donovan and Lisa Kudrow. The film marked departures for both Ricci and Kudrow, cast against type for the roles they were known for at the time (Ricci for adolescents in The Addams Family and Casper, Kudrow for being the resident airhead on Friends).



The film is a black comedy, narrated by and centred around self-absorbed, manipulative, cynical teenager Dedee Truitt (Ricci), who runs away from home after her stepfather's funeral and moves in with her half-brother Bill (Martin Donovan), a gay teacher in a conservative, suburban community in Saint Joseph County, Indiana.

Dedee seduces Bill's young lover, Matt (Ivan Sergei), then tricks him into believing he has impregnated her. In fact, the father of her child is her ex-boyfriend Randy Cates (William Lee Scott). She and Matt elope, leaving Bill and the uptight Lucia (Lisa Kudrow), the sister of Bill's deceased partner Tom, to track them down and sort out the mess. In the meantime, Matt's "bit on the side," Jason Bock (Johnny Galecki), attempts to blackmail Bill in order to track down Matt, claiming Bill sexually assaulted him while he was a student. Bill and Lucia find Dedee and Matt, only to discover Dedee has stolen Tom's ashes and is holding them for ransom. Randy also finds Dedee; they inform Matt that they are taking the ashes and moving to have the baby elsewhere. They escape but soon get into an argument that leads to Dedee accidentally shooting Randy. She and Matt escape to Canada, and Bill eventually finds them.

After giving birth to Randy Jr., Dedee returns Tom's ashes to Bill, apologizing for her actions in the past year. After a few months in prison, she moves back in with Bill, while Matt and Jason go traveling together, and Lucia marries her old friend Carl (Lyle Lovett). Eventually, Dedee decides that Randy Jr. would be better off alone with Bill (who is now dating Dedee's parole officer) and runs away.

Narrating the ending, Dedee sarcastically concludes that sex is precisely the opposite of what people should want, leading as it does to kids, disease or, worst of all, relationships. At the end of the film, the vignettes of the various caring relationships among the characters show the opposite of superficial sexual gratification. Dedee leaves it to the viewer to imagine whether or not she returns to her family.



For its North American run, The Opposite of Sex took in film rentals of $5,881,367. The opening weekend saw a per screen average of $20,477 for the 5 theaters showing it.

Janet Maslin in The New York Times called it a "gleefully acerbic comedy." Christina Ricci's performance was considerably praised, she also received a Golden Globe nomination for Best Actress in a Comedy. Roger Ebert especially enjoyed the voice-over narration supplied in-character by Ricci, calling it "refreshing" and comparing it to Mystery Science Theater 3000:

When you've seen enough movies, alas, you can sense the gears laboriously turning, and you know with a sinking heart that there will be no surprises. The Dede character subverts those expectations; she shoots the legs out from under the movie with perfectly timed zingers. I hate people who talk during movies, but if she were sitting behind me in the theater, saying all of this stuff, I'd want her to keep right on talking.

Overall, the film scored an 85% on the Rotten Tomatoes site.


The film began in the aftermath of another film Don Roos had been working on that had shut down when the lead actress left it, putting Roos in house-bound funk.[1] He had a mental image of a woman throwing a chair into an open grave at a funeral and from that one image grew the script of The Opposite of Sex.[1]

Production began on June 8, 1997 with the filming of a library scene between Kudrow and Donovan that would ultimately be cut from the finished film.[1] The restaurant scene was shot at the closed Chasen's restaurant site[1] (Dan Bucatinsky, Roos' life-partner, makes a cameo during this scene as the waiter).


  1. ^ a b c d From Don Roos' DVD commentary.

External links

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