The Souler Opposite

  • 1998
  • Movie
  • R
  • Comedy, Drama, Romance

Cynical older man meets idealistic younger woman in this sturdy and surprisingly good romantic comedy from first-time writer-director Bill Kalmenson. On the day he turned 16, Barry Singer's swinging father bought him a hooker for his birthday, a gift that pretty much set the tone for the adult Barry's (Chris Meloni) attitudes toward women and sex. As a...read more

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Reviewed by Ken Fox
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Cynical older man meets idealistic younger woman in this sturdy and surprisingly good romantic comedy from first-time writer-director Bill Kalmenson. On the day he turned 16, Barry Singer's swinging father bought him a hooker for his birthday, a gift that

pretty much set the tone for the adult Barry's (Chris Meloni) attitudes toward women and sex. As a struggling stand-up comedian playing to crowds in various L.A. dives, Barry's patently sexist act focuses on the treachery of women, the soul-crushing pitfalls of relationships and his own

hermetically sealed emotions. But after getting himself punched out in a club parking lot (by a woman) after a typically offensive gig, Barry meets Thea (Janel Moloney), an attractive 23-year-old college senior who could prove him wrong: She's just as smart, maybe even funnier and isn't remotely

interested in a relationship -- at first. It's a pretty standard boy-meets-girl setup, and at close to two hours, it begins to feel like an epic: The film chronicles not only Barry and Thea's lengthy courtship -- with plenty of raunchy pillow talk thrown in -- and an inevitable bust-up, but also

follows Thea as she goes to work for Jerry Brown on his doomed 1992 presidential campaign. (The film, for reasons never made clear, is set at the end of the Reagan era.) But it's never less than engaging: Kalmenson's a smart writer and Meloni and Moloney are two very likable actors with enough

chemistry to make even a scene in which Shakepeare is read aloud in bed actually work. Added bonuses are Amit Bhattacharya's sharp cinematography and Timothy Busfield's performance as Barry's best friend, a dentist who loses his wife to another woman: It's a farcical tragedy that, like so much of

Kalmenson's script, reveals quite a bit about male insecurity and braggadocio.

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  • Released: 1998
  • Rating: R
  • Review: Cynical older man meets idealistic younger woman in this sturdy and surprisingly good romantic comedy from first-time writer-director Bill Kalmenson. On the day he turned 16, Barry Singer's swinging father bought him a hooker for his birthday, a gift that… (more)

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