- Alternate Character Interpretation: Dede seems to think Lucia hangs around Bill because she has a crush on him. And that her anger at Dede and Matt's affair was her projecting her insecurities that Dede could 'cure' Matt while she couldn't do the same for Bill.
- Award Snub: Some people saw Lisa Kudrow as a potential Best Supporting Actress nomination, but she was largely ignored on the awards circuit.
- Crosses the Line Twice: Dede steals Tom's ashes. How does she demonstrate this? By taking the urn out, turning it upside down and showing that it's empty. Lisa Kudrow's hysterical delivery of "where are the ashes?" is the topper.
- Hollywood Homely: Lisa Kudrow is given drab brown hair and frumpy clothes to make it look like she's a plain woman. It's established that she used to be fat as well. Her personality helps make her unattractive.
- Internet Backdraft: The film got a backlash from gay rights groups who thought that having a bisexual character was trying to imply that gay men could be turned straight. Never mind that said character later ends up with another man.
- Jerkass Woobie:
- Dede is a real piece of work and she's an outright Villain Protagonist. But you see her crappy life at the start, and her narration seems rather bitterly accepting of how nasty she is. The viewer is led to believe she dies twice in the film, and both times are played sadly. Christina Ricci was surprised that some viewers found her so nasty, as she saw her as someone who was hurt so much.
- Lucia is rude and bitchy to everyone. But she has a Friendless Background and her only companion was her brother, and now he's dead. So she hangs around with his widow because he's her only friend. Dede even lampshades this as she flashes back to Lucia's unhappy teen years, saying that we may feel sorry for her as she eats alone at her sister's wedding - "but would you sit with her?"
- Love to Hate: Lucia is so shrill and over-the-top that she's the favourite character in the movie.
- "Seinfeld" Is Unfunny: Dede being a Genre Savvy snarky narrator was one of the main innovations of the film at the time. Roger Ebert heaped praise on the movie for featuring a protagonist that was aware of movie cliches and subverting them. Of course that sort of thing hardly seems new these days, and Genre Savvy characters popped up everywhere in the 2000s.
- She Really Can Act:
"Whether shes reading the films wittily misleading narration or doing startling things to help us see behind Dedees facade, this babe is the bomb. Dedee may smart-mouth herself into oblivion, but Ricci is headed for a stunning future."
- Christina Ricci proved with this and The Ice Storm that she was considerably more than just a child actress. Rolling Stone said:
- Lisa Kudrow won lots of acclaim for taking a role drastically different to Phoebe Buffay and starring in an indie film that wasn't a guaranteed hit. She later called Lucia one of her favourite roles.
- Stoic Woobie: Bill has to deal with his boyfriend dying, his sister having an affair with his current boyfriend, a smear campaign against his character and homophobia from his own students. Not that you hear him complaining about it.
- Unintentionally Unsympathetic: The movie seems to paint Matt as a lovable character who just gets easily manipulated by Dede. But he still freely has an affair with his boyfriend's sister. Dede's conning of him comes across as Laser-Guided Karma.
- Values Dissonance: It's hard to imagine a character like Jason appearing in a film these days. He's a Flamboyant Gay stereotype who causes all sorts of trouble for Bill. Dede's casual homophobia meanwhile is used to show her as a bitch.
- Values Resonance: The film is ahead of its time for showing sexuality as complicated when it comes to Matt. He turns out to be bisexual and refers to himself as such - and the only character who claims bisexuality doesn't exist is Lucia, who is shown to be in the wrong. It also subverts But Not Too Bi by having Matt and Jason end up together.
YMMV / The Opposite of Sex