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Film / The Opposite of Sex

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The Opposite of Sex is a 1998 black comedy film written and directed by Don Roos, starring Christina Ricci, Martin Donovan, Ivan Sergei and Lisa Kudrow.

The main protagonist is Dede Truitt (Ricci), a troublemaking teenage girl who leaves after home after her father dies and moves in with her gay brother (Donovan). After a few weeks she seduces his boyfriend (Sergei) into bed and ends up pregnant. After that, the two of them take off to Los Angeles, emptying the brother's bank account along the way.


The Opposite of Sex provides examples of:

  • Ambiguous Ending: The film ends with Dede sitting on the side of the road, about to leave home. But she's unsure of whether she really wants to, and she refuses to tell the viewer whether she's going to go back to her child or not.
  • Angrish: Lucia, ironically one of the most articulate characters in the movie, delves into this when her frustration gets the best of her, with her speech devolving into a string of spat-out obscenities and monosyllables: "Fine! Goddammit! God! Fuck! Shit!"
  • Ashes to Crashes: Played with. Dede steals Tom's ashes and uses them to blackmail Bill and Lucia. She later gives them back unharmed, admitting it was low, even for her, to steal them. She even double-bagged them!
  • Babies Ever After: Lucia ends up Happily Married to Carl and they have kids. Bill raises Dede's child as his own, and the film hints that Dede might remain with the child too.
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  • Babies Make Everything Better: Played with. The end of the film has Dede preparing to leave the baby with her brother, but cuts away as she insists she won't go back. It's left open either way.
  • Beta Couple: Lucia and Carl
  • Bitch Alert:
    • Dede is open about this in her narration. "I don't grow a heart of gold."
  • Bowdlerization: In-universe. A student draws a doodle of a naked woman on the bathroom wall. Bill turns it into a funny face instead.
  • Brainless Beauty: Matt is a male example. It's often lampshaded by Dede.
  • Brick Joke: Lucia tells Dede she pronounces her name "loo-sha" because of her sisters Marcia and Tricia when her parents actually named her "loo-chee-ah". Later on she gives her name to a credit card company and spells it out for them. After a pause she snaps "Yes, I know how my own name is pronounced".
  • Bullet Holes and Revelations: Struggle for the gun version was used, including the subsequent fakeout, which is lampshaded after the reveal, with the line "What you thought I'd be the dead one? I'm the fucking narrator guys. Keep up!"
  • Character Development: Almost the first thing Dede's narration tells us is that this isn't going to be a story about how she grew as a character and became a better person. At the end, she faces the possibilty that she has changed, but she still stubbornly declares that she won't turn into a better person in front of us, and shouts at the camera until it (and the audience) goes away.
  • Chekhov's Gun: Dede is shown packing a gun, and helpfully informs the audience, "This is foreshadowing. Duh!". Despite the fact that she toys with being an Unreliable Narrator, it does get used later on. And just when you think it's outlived its usefulness, it comes back a second time.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Lucia frequently snarks to the madness going on around her.
  • Defrosting Ice Queen: Downplayed with Dede. She still remains icy but she does learn a bit about the value of family. It's left open whether or not she goes back to keep her child.
  • The Ditz: Matt. When Dede tells him she's late, he assumes she's talking about school.
  • Do Wrong, Right: Bill catches a student writing an insulting statement about him on the bathroom wall. He makes the kid correct the grammar, then lets him go. This then comes to Bill himself when another student sees Bill trying to fix the naughty drawing and says "probably not a good idea to use your real name."
  • Expository Hairstyle Change: Lucia's shorter hair at the end of the film symbolises her happy new life as Carl's wife and a mother. Meanwhile Dede's shoulder length hair grows out to waist length suggesting she might keep her kid after all.
  • Fag Hag: Lucia still hangs out with her deceased brother's boyfriend.
  • Fille Fatale: Dede is only sixteen but is an expert sexual manipulator.
  • Flamboyant Gay: Jason is easily one of the campest characters in the movie.
  • Genre Savvy: Dede's narration is aware of many Coming-of-Age Story cliches and she makes a point of defying them.
  • Gory Discretion Shot: When the gun is fired in the hotel room. It leaves us in doubt whether Randy or Dede gets shot.
  • Hard-Drinking Party Girl: Dede is a pretty dark example.
  • Karma Houdini:
    • Jason. He gets Bill suspended from his job after cooking up a sexual abuse story and he ends up getting the guy at the end.
    • Dedee by the end. Considering a Deleted Scene shows her lying about Randy's death saying it was a suicide, it's clear that she's not afraid to cover up her involvement. At the very worst, she's a murderer, but she gets off incredibly easy for it. invoked
  • Letting Her Hair Down: Lucia after she and Carl have sex.
  • Maybe Ever After: A non-romantic example. It's left open whether or not Dede decides to stay with her baby.
  • No Bisexuals: Lucia certainly has this attitude. When Matt tries to explain he's bisexual, she remarks "I went to a Bar Mitzvah once, that doesn't make me Jewish."
  • Posthumous Narration: Subverted as Dede allows the audience to believe she dies twice in the film.
  • Pretty Boy: Matt, and Dede spends plenty of time Eating the Eye Candy as a result.
  • Really Gets Around: Dede, who is a very dark version of this.
  • Skewed Priorities: Lampshaded by Lucia after Matt suggests getting married due to Dede's pregnancy.
    Dede: I just don't think we should rush into it.
    Lucia: No but 'bring another life into the world', that's whim time.
  • Straight Gay: Bill has no stereotypical gay qualities and is the straighter one, compared to Matt.
  • Title Drop: Dede's narration gives a partial example. "I don't want sex. I want the opposite."
  • The Twink: Jason.
  • Unreliable Narrator: Dede. She even lets the audience think she dies twice. And berates the viewer for believing her.
  • Walking Shirtless Scene: Matt
  • Would Hit a Girl: Randy gets into a literal fight with Dede in the hotel. Especially notable since (bitchy or not), Dede is at least seven months pregnant when it happens.


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