Though she's very limited as an actor -- as her attempts at winning sympathy late in The Opposite of Sex demonstrate -- she commands the screen the way pudgy Marlene Dietrich did in The Blue Angel: by a divine right of surliness. As the nasty girl of The Opposite of Sex, who breaks up her gay brother's happy home and leads him on a merry cross-country chase, Ricci is almost too perfectly cast. More conventional than the bizarre Buffalo '66, Roos' film is entertaining in its adroit mix of clever plot and dialogue.
By contrast Gallo's peculiar film -- a blend of early Godard and midperiod Cassavetes, with some 1966-style split-screen photography thrown in -- is easily the best student film ever made by a non-student. The pop-eyed Gallo stars in his own movie as a pathological, self-pitying ex-con redeemed by the love of his tap-dancing kidnap victim (Ricci). Everybody, including Gallo's awful parents (Ben Gazzara and Anjelica Huston), betrays and humiliates Gallo save Ricci. In its masochism, narcissism, and grandiosity, Buffalo '66 suggests Dostoevski as workshopped by Method actors, with, once again, Ricci's stubbornly unacted screen presence giving this crybaby male fantasy some badly needed ballast.
-- Gregg Rickman
Buffalo '66 screens Saturday, Dec. 19, at 7:05 p.m. (with The Opposite of Sex at 9:15 p.m.) at the UC Theater, 2036 University (at Shattuck), Berkeley. Admission is $6.50; call (510) 843-3456.