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The Truth About Cats & Dogs

movie reviewmovie reviewvideo review out of 4 Movie Review: The Truth About Cats & Dogs

Starring: Janeane Garofalo, Uma Thurman
Director: Michael Lehmann
Rated: PG-13
RunTime: 97 Minutes
Release Date: April 1996
Genres: Comedy, Romance

*Also starring: Ben Chaplin, Stanley DeSantis, Richard Coca, Jamie Foxx, James McCaffrey

Review by Andrew Hicks
3 stars out of 4

Do you want to know the truth about cats and dogs? Do you? Well, as this movie shows us, they make good companions but pale in comparison to the joy and fulfillment romantic relationships can bring. Unfortunately, there's a giant roadblock set up in our culture that only certain people can get through while the rest of us mill around outside, feeling sorry for ourselves. A Checkpoint Beautiful kind of thing, and Janeane Garafolo's character Abby relates to it well.

Like a certain oversized teenage movie critic, she is intelligent and has a great sense of humor but strikes out with the opposite sex because she sees herself as physically unattractive, and the men seem to be backing her up on that. Meanwhile, her gorgeous neighbor Nora (Uma Thurman... Uma being the only woman's name worse than Nora) attracts men like flies. As Abby tells her, "You burp and they think it's cute. You barf and they line up to hold your hair back." But Nora's down on herself for being too shallow and superficial. We all have our prwhen a man calls in to veterinarian Abby's talk radio show wanting to know how to get the roller skates off his basset hound. (Oh come on, any idiot knows how to handle that problem!) He likes her personality and professional demeanor and asks to meet her in person. Abby, though, knows her body doesn't match her personality and that she probably won't have a chance with him once he sees her. So she gives him Nora's body description and stands him up.

Nora happens to be in the studio the next day when the dog man comes by and Abby asks her for a big favor. She goes along with the masquerade and the three of them head out for a night of fun, Abby assuming the role of a goat cheese farmer named Donna. The dog man finds out even though this girl is beautiful, she's not quite as intellectual or confident about herself in person, but he doesn't suspect anything, realizing he's not living in a "Three's Company" episode.

The charade continues, with Abby furthering the relationship over the phone (including a decidedly unnecessary phone sex/masturbation sequence) and Nora furthering it in person, while eventually finding herself attracted to the dog man. Like SLEEPLESS IN SEATTLE, this comedy/romance is predictable all the way through, but we care enough about the characters that we root them on and will the romance to blossom.

THE TRUTH ABOUT CATS AND DOGS isn't quite as entertaining as I was expecting it to be, but it handles well a theme I could identify with. The thing is, I find Janeane Garafolo rather attractive. She's no Uma but I'm sure in real life she'd have no problems attracting men. I, on the other hand, couldn't attract a man to save my life... and am rather proud of that fact.

Copyright 1996 Andrew Hicks

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