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‘The Opposite Sex’ (R)

By Hal Hinson
Washington Post Staff Writer
March 29, 1993

The ad copy for "The Opposite Sex" reads, "In Between 'Nice to Meet You' and 'I Do' Comes Something Totally Unpredictable." And believe it or not the statement is entirely accurate. Who in this day and age could have predicted that someone would try to remake "Divorce American Style"?

If you were looking for a relationship comedy that contained every cliche in the book, then "The Opposite Sex" is a godsend. Everything in this feebly written (by screenwriter Noah Stern), blandly staged (by director Matthew Meshekoff) film seems to have been recycled from some earlier movie or television show; so much so, in fact, that if someone had said, "Stop me if you've heard this before" the picture would have been about three minutes long.

Set in Boston, the film zeros in on David and Carrie (Arye Gross and Courteney Cox) who meet cute in a bar, date cute, then, eventually, marry cute. The course of their relationship follows the usual map. There are the condom jokes before they have sex, and the his-and-her friends jokes afterward. Once the love affair progresses past what the film calls "the sickening phase," she longs for commitment, and he feels trapped. (Wouldn't it be nice if, just one time, the roles were reversed?) They argue (over nothing) and she throws him out. For about five minutes, he thinks it's great to be a swinging single again, but the magic isn't there with anyone else. With a little help from their friends (his friend: Kevin Pollak; her friend: Julie Brown) they patch things up, then hesitate one last time before tying the knot.

If there were any insight at all into how men and women truly behave, or any suggestion that the characters (or the filmmakers) had actually given some thought to what makes a relationship work, the movie might have been passably entertaining. But for that to be true, we'd have to have an entirely different movie. And the last words you'd use to describe "The Opposite Sex" would be "entirely different."

"The Opposite Sex" is rated R for language and adult situations.

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