April 9th, 2008 at 1:23 pm
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Sheriff Carl & Bill
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Bill & Lucia
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Lyle, Christina, & Martin atThe Opposite of Sex premier
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Martin at The Opposite of Sex premier
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July 14th, 2007 at 10:57 am
Posted by admin in Opposite of Sex, The

‘The Opposite of Sex’: Her Mouth Is the Poison and Her Heart Is Fool’s Gold
The New York Times on the Web: Current Film
By Janet Maslin

Christina Ricci has morphed enchantingly from wicked little Wednesday of the “Addams Family” comedies into Lolita’s evil twin. Voluptuous and scheming in Don Roos’s gleefully acerbic comedy “The Opposite of Sex,” she plays a nasty little baggage named Dedee whose sexual chicanery and self-interest know no bounds. Neither does Roos’s barbed humor as he mocks preconceptions about straight and gay lifestyles with total abandon, rude epithets and all. What redeem the film’s surface bitterness are sharp observations, laceratingly funny dialogue and something Dedee claims to find especially loathsome: a secret heart of gold.

Dedee narrates this busily plotted, nicely unpredictable sex comedy with a sarcastic edge. (“If you think I’m just plucky and scrappy and all I need is love, you’re in over your head,” she tells the audience right off the bat.) Trying out little tricks on her listeners whenever she feels like it, she explains how she left home in Louisiana to barge in on Bill (Martin Donovan), her level-headed half brother. Bill is the kind of schoolteacher who, when finding rude graffiti about himself on a bathroom wall, corrects its faulty grammar. Bill is also gay, and his happy, stable relationship with Matt (Ivan Sergei) gives Dedee her first chance to pounce.

Stacked little Dedee doesn’t so much seduce Matt as plop down in a bathing suit and bully him into giving heterosexuality a try. Soon she has gotten pregnant and run off with both Matt and a chunk of her half brother’s savings, prompting an anti-Dedee backlash from the film’s colorful array of supporting characters. Funniest and most touching of these is Lisa Kudrow’s Lucia, the sister of Bill’s previous lover, who died of AIDS. (Dedee insists on referring to him as “Tom the dead guy.”) Ms. Kudrow sustains her expert “Friends” timing in a role that’s a marked departure: a lonely, spinsterish schoolteacher who expresses her jealousy of others’ happiness in especially funny ways.

“I never knew my father,” Dedee tells her, by way of explaining the liaison with Matt. “And you really think this is a good way to make up for it?” Lucia inquires. To Matt’s claims that he is now bisexual, Lucia snaps: “Please, I went to a bar mitzvah once. That doesn’t make me Jewish.”

Lucia and Bill, played with cool, quiet strength by Donovan, wind up joining forces in pursuit of Dedee, whom Lucia calls “the human tabloid.” They track her to another city and spy on her with yet another lover. “That can’t be good for the baby,” muses Lucia, peering through a window. “Not only that, she’s gonna smoke a cigarette after,” adds Bill. And what about Matt, who by now is being cuckolded? (“He made his bed, he can lie in it.” “If there’s room.”)

Well into this comedy of unspeakably bad manners (Dedee’s, anyway), the wisecracks are outweighed by gratifyingly tenderhearted developments. Roos, making his directorial debut (after strong screenwriting credits including “Boys on the Side,” “Love Field” and “Single White Female”), guides his lonely, smart-talking characters into relationships none ever thought possible. This makes for a happy ending even if Dedee winds up throwing something at the camera. And the film’s resolution gracefully repudiates all its poisonous talk, especially the stream of small-minded slurs about gay life that come from Dedee. Essentially generous, “The Opposite of Sex” winds up showing rotten little Dedee how little sense there is in stereotypes, and how varied and surprising love can be.

Also in “The Opposite of Sex” are Lyle Lovett as an accommodating local policeman and Johnny Galecki as a gay student who tries to blackmail Bill after Matt vanishes. “For all I know, you killed him,” the boy insists. “For all you know,” Bill replies evenly, “I’m just getting started.”


July 14th, 2007 at 10:48 am
Posted by admin in Opposite of Sex, The

Videoflicks.com
The Opposite of Sex
By Jack Sommersby

Starts out OK, but soon grows tiresome with hackeyed situations and an overeagerness to ‘be shocking’. Screenwriter Don Roos (making his directing debut here) tries too hard to make an impressionable piece: explicit sex language to goose the viewer into believing they’re healing ‘real talk’; a consistent amoral character (Christina Ricci) meant to be alluring because she is the way she is; and sexual situations that are presented, without being developed. There are a few laughs to be had, and Ricci manages to rise above the trite material with the same natural authority that made her the sole saving grace of Ang Lee’s failed THE ICE STORM; she’s so jaw-droppingly proficient with her line readings and inflections that she seems to redefine the term ‘natural actress’. And, considering that her role is basically one-note, it’s amazing that she gives a performance of great variety — she makes a far better teenage Vixen than Drew Barrymore in POISON IVY or Alicia Silverstone in THE CRUSH. Also, there’s the talented Martin Donovan (who also gave Jane Campion’s THE PORTRAIT OF A LADY its only rooted moments) trying to bring some identifiable sanity to his poorly concieved character.

Overall, THE OPPOSITE OF SEX fails for the same reason that marred Larry Clark’s 1995 KIDS: sensationalism over coherence. And it doesn’t have the clever plot twists and buoyantly seedy atmosphere that gave THE LAST SEDUCTION its kick. Roos brings up way too many plot developments, and then leaves them hanging; they’re meant to get your attention, and once that’s been done, he moves onto another subplot (and there are many) to keep you allured. Yet, with all the half-done segments constantly replacing each other, the film never establishes a distinctive rythm, and the shapeless scenes just go on and on until you lose track of where the film’s focus really lies.


July 14th, 2007 at 10:47 am
Posted by admin in Opposite of Sex, The

New York Post
‘OPPOSITE’ ATTRACTS LOW-KEY INDIE STAR
By LARRY WORTH

To hear Martin Donovan talk, it seems miraculous that he ever got to show off his acting skills.

In a showbiz world that thrives on superficial chitchat and constant self-promotion, it’s as if Donovan didn’t know the rules. Actually, he knows them very well – and continues to employ his own.

For example, mention of Donovan’s latest screen venture – “The Opposite of Sex” (opening May 29) – is his chance to praise co-stars Christina Ricci, Lyle Lovett and Lisa Kudrow. Nor does it bother him that the dark comedy – in which he plays a gay teacher whose lover (Ivan Sergei) is seduced and stolen by a Bad Seed stepsister (Ricci) – puts Ricci and Kudrow front and center.

“There’s an art to being the straight man in a comic routine,” he offers, in between bites of apple walnut pie at Midtown’s Film Center Cafe. “I always appreciated people like Bud Abbott or ^Marx Brothers foil_ Margaret Dumont. And Lisa made for great chemistry.”

The pair hit it off from the start. Then again, Donovan, 40, and Kudrow, 34, are both natives of the San Fernando Valley and – to their mutual surprise – had mutual friends.

“But Lisa grew up in the upper-middle-class part and I was very much lower-middle-class,” he laughs. “Believe me, she was the kind of girl I couldn’t touch with a 10-foot pole in high school.”

Not to worry. Donovan found romance with actress Vivienne Lanco. The pair moved to New York City in 1983, then married a year later. They currently live on the Upper West Side with their two sons.

But Donovan always wanted to leave California. The longer he stayed, the angrier he got, having found he didn’t like doing commercials and had no interest in TV work.

Donovan took a professional detour by hanging curtains for the rich and famous; the client list included Paul Simon, Barbra Streisand and Jack Nicholson.

“But they were never home,” he says, “except once with Jack. I saw him getting out of his pool but never met him. It was so near and yet so far.”

Eventually, Donovan found himself off-off-Broadway. That’s where director and friend-to-be Hal Hartley entered the picture, putting Donovan on the indie map in “Trust,” “Simple Men,” “Amateur” and “Flirt.”

But the actor says his best reviews came from last year’s “Hollow Reed,” in which he played a gay Brit who finds his young son is being abused by a would-be stepdad.

It wasn’t an easy role, and not just because of the need to perfect a British accent. It also required a graphic lovemaking scene with actor Ian Hart.

“All love scenes are hard, straight or gay ” Donovan says. “But this one was extremely passionate, extremely intense. And I’d be lying if I said I didn’t have to think twice about it.”

But it didn’t stop him from accepting his gay role in “The Opposite of Sex.”

Donovan says he never worries about what others think. For that matter, he couldn’t care less if controversy arises over “Book of Life,” his latest project with Hartley. In it, he plays Jesus in 1998, traveling the world with Mary Magdalene as his personal assistant.

“I was raised a Catholic and I still don’t understand why that type of story makes people so angry,” he says.


July 14th, 2007 at 10:28 am
Posted by admin in Opposite of Sex, The

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December 10th, 2003 at 4:35 pm
Posted by admin in Opposite of Sex, The

Martin Donovan plays Bill Truitt, a mild-mannered school teacher who has his life turned upside down with the arrival of Dedee, his much-younger half-sister.

Donovan recently was featured in “The Portrait of a Lady”, directed by Jane Campion. His portrayal of Ralph Touchett, Nicole Kidman’s doomed cousin and admirer, earned him the National Society of Film Critics Award for Best Supporting Actor. He followed that up with another widely praised role in Angela Pope’s controversial “Hollow Reed”, in which he starred opposite Ian Hart and Joely Richardson.

Donovan recently completed production on two upcoming films: Scott Reynolds’ “Heaven”, with Joanna Going and Richard Schiff, and Richard LaGravenese’s “The Kiss”, opposite Holly Hunter.

His other film credits include “Malcolm X”, directed by Spike Lee; John Flynn’s “Scam” with Christopher Walken; and Michael Almereyda’s droll vampire saga “Nadja”.

Donovan has enjoyed a long association with celebrated director Hal Hartley. Most recently the two teamed up on “Amateur”, for which he received the Fort Lauderdale Film Festival’s Best Actor Award. He also co-starred with Adrienne Shell, in the award-winning “Trust”; played the lead in the short “Surviving Desire”; appeared in a supporting role in “Simple Men” and appeared in the first segment of “Flirt”.

Originally from Reseda, California, Donovan studied acting at the American Theater of Arts in Los Angeles where he appeared in such plays as Richard Cork’s Leg by Brendan Behan and Brecht’s Private Life of the Master Race. He moved to New York in 1983, and appeared in the mini-series “At Mother’s Request”, “Legwork” and “At King’s Crossing”.

Until 1994, he was a member of the Cucaracha Theater in New York, where he has appeared in over half a dozen new works, most notably Richard Caliban’s “Famine Plays” and “Homo Sapien Shuffle”.