This romantic comedy covers familiar ground in an entertaining fashion, helped by an enjoyable cast. The city is Boston, and the setting a yup-scale singles bar, located below street level. Classic urban Jew David (Arye Gross) spies ur-WASP Carrie (Courteney Cox) through a periscope that views female passers-by from a voyeuristic low angle, and Carrie...read more
This romantic comedy covers familiar ground in an entertaining fashion, helped by an enjoyable cast.
The city is Boston, and the setting a yup-scale singles bar, located below street level. Classic urban Jew David (Arye Gross) spies ur-WASP Carrie (Courteney Cox) through a periscope that views female passers-by from a voyeuristic low angle, and Carrie storms into the bar ready to punch out his
lights. Sparks are struck instead, and a second chance encounter, at a Red Sox game, leads to a date. But before matters can proceed further, the familiar obstacles must be overcome.
First, there's friend incompatibility. David's best friend Eli (Kevin Pollak) is a macho pig, while Carrie's chums--"Whine and Cheese Crowd" Muffy, Buffy and Chipper--like to get together for rousing evenings of Pictionary. Then there's parental incompatibility: Carrie gets grilled by David's
mom over a dinner of brisket, while David politely loses a tennis match to Carrie's dad, only to spend the rest of the afternoon being reprimanded for his lack of killer instinct.
The familiar falling out over David's fear of losing his independence comes next, followed by the familiar reconciliation and last-minute cold feet (on the part of both parties), just before the wedding presided over by a dueling priest (Frank Birney) and rabbi (Jack Carter).
As directed by first timer Matthew Meshekoff, from a script by Noah Stern, THE OPPOSITE SEX never quite decides whether it wants to be ANNIE HALL or "Seinfeld" and winds up an imperfect hybrid. Its view of male-female relationships cuts only sitcom deep, so it never delivers the wisdom its
title promises, and the casting makes the question moot. Just how hard could it be to live with Courteney Cox, who was merely captivating in Bruce Springsteen's "Dancing in the Dark" video and has since become more drop-dead beautiful? The movie raises the issue of David and Carrie's cultural
differences but never really examines them; in fact, David's friends are generic overgrown frat boys, with the exception of Eli, a classic sidekick-nebbish who eventually pairs off with Carrie's own sidekick-nebbish, played by Julie Brown in her trademark over-the-top style (in her first scene she
sports a beehive hairdo big enough, she says, to conceal a small child).
Despite its familiarity, THE OPPOSITE SEX manages to get some fresh laughs out of its characters and situations. Pollack and Brown deliver contrasting male and female play-by-play commentary between the scenes of thwarted romance, and both are frequently quite funny, as are individual scenes and
asides. Gross is appealing and amusing, while Cox, not particularly funny, is certainly decorative. (Adult situations, profanity.)
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