The Opposite of Sex (h2so4 11)
film by Don Roos

While this film contained some moments and some observations worthy of witnessing, for the most part it was sabotaged by the narrative device used to communicate the story. I'm sorry, but the "ultimate power of the narrator" self-consciousness technique is fine for the end of Wayne's World but annoying in most every other context (one notable exception being The Usual Suspects, though its usage of the technique is so different from this film that comparison is not useful). The bratty ignorant young girl who tells the story constantly refers to us, the viewers, and solicits our "advice," changes the way events happen after the fact with a quick, "right, like that's how it happened," etc. Seems too much like an attempt to be cute, or worse, cutesy, and fails.

I admit that the device of using a bratty ignorant girl is new. Not often does one find a female voice narrating a film. And certainly it is rare to allow a narrative voice to be bigoted and irrational in this climate of faux political correctness, much of the narrative observation in this film would be censored if p.c.'s champions had the power. That is the aspect of this film's choice of storytelling that I found most interesting, and most liberating. Not that a new slew of films featuring ignorance-as-excuse narration styles would change the world. But any step away from the fakeness of what politically correct speech truly is permission to think whatever you want as long as you don't say it out loud seems like a good step to take, to me. And being offended by a film's speech can be as uplifting or inspiring as being directly inspired to behave as a film heroine has.

The good parts, beyond my concern with narrative device, by the way (and I am not one to analyze films in this manner usually it is not that I pick communication techniques for analysis, but that it is impossible to watch this film without being conscious of what the narrator wants to do to you), are the observations about love and the nature of human relationships. There are some deep moments, some deeply funny moments, and, who knew, Lisa Kudrow can play a role not scripted for a dingbat. And then there's hunk-man Martin Donovan, who seems lately to have been character-actor-slotted to play only homosexual protagonists when he's not in Hal Hartley films. He's always good. And you won't forget Lyle Lovett as the odd and concerned local sheriff. 

This reminds me that the only thing I like about Titanic was its narrative-telling technique. I thought it handled the storytelling, and the shifts from "present" to "past" very gracefully, and with interest. If only the story to be told had been something more. But I guess most everyone who goes to see Titanic goes to see the embodiment of all that money spent (both on the ship "The Titanic," and on the movie purportedly made "about" it), the effect of a big ship sinking, and lots of people freezing and drowning. Love stories with big special effects insure a big audience, because conventional men and ladies on dates can agree on a movie without having to agree on anything in it. The Opposite of Sex is nothing so easy as that, and this is its highest "virtue." It is not a date movie, unless your idea of a date is more interesting than the norm. (I hope that it is.)

Avia Midons