Trite plot of Opposite Sex salvaged by original humorThe Opposite Sex
Directed by Matthew Meshekoff.
Written by Noah Stern.
Starring Ayre Gross, Courtney Cox,
Kevin Pollak, and Julie Brown.
Showcase Cinemas Circle.
By Joshua M. Andresen
The Opposite Sex (subtitled and How to Deal with Them) is a cute film that analyzes a '90s relationship. Though it will not offer any deep insights, this rather trite film remains amusing.
This film takes us through the tumultuous relationship of David (Ayre Gross) and Carrie (Courtney Cox). It starts with their meeting in a Boston bar and ends with their eventual marriage. This is the first serious relationship for both, and they fall in love despite David's best friend Eli (Kevin Pollak) and Carrie's best friend Zoe (Julie Brown), both of whom find the prospect of a serious relationship without appeal, if not entirely repulsive.
Director Matthew Meshekoff borrows heavily from Woody Allen, and the script fits this style well. All four of the main characters frequently turn to the camera and speak directly to the audience in pseudo-soliloquies. David and Carrie get advice from photographs that spring to life and are harangued by television sports announcers over the airwaves. David is even Jewish, and the young couple faces his Jewish mother in one rather amusing scene.
Both the relationship of David and Carrie and the problems they have with it are trite and hackneyed. Nothing is in the least bit original here. They meet in a bar, David gets her number, they go on a date (dinner and a movie), and they end up in bed. Eventually they move in together. They have a very stereotypical fight (Carrie wants to commit, David feels restricted) and David gets kicked out. Later on they make up and (after a bit of soul-searching) get married.
It is in these clichs that The Opposite Sex finds its humor. Though the material plods along and never offers a surprise, the humorous twist on each phase in the relationship adequately compensates. When David and Carrie each meet the other's friends, for example, everything is dripping with satire. Eli and the rest of David's friends are the epitome of male boorishness (convincing Carrie that she really wants to play strip beach Twister) and Carrie's friends are the ultimate snobbish Ivy Leaguers. (So glad you came, David. Join us in a game of Charades, won't you?) Though the plot is trite, the humor never is.
These sardonic views of the whole dating process are not consistent, though. The film tries to have a moral after all, which is a considerable failure. Making fun of a trite romance works, but trying to develop a moral which is just as unoriginal detracts from the whole experience. Just before the wedding, both Carrie and David steal away to different parts of Boston only to be rescued by Zoe and Eli respectively, who gently persuade the young lovers that marriage and commitment are not so bad and can even be good. This would be overdone on its own, and it seems particularly silly considering Zoe and Eli held completely antithetical views for the rest of the movie.
The film's production did not disappoint, despite the film's low budget. The directing (despite the borrowing from Allen) remained fresh throughout. The acting performances of Cox, Gross, and Pollak were satisfactory, but Brown was ludicrous at times. It appeared as though she had problems making transitions between being aware of the camera when talking to the audience and normal action where she was meant to ignore the camera.