The Truth About Cats & Dogs Movie Review

What happens if you meet someone with whom you have almost everything in common, you find yourself falling for them, but the sparks of romance just don't seem to fly on a physical level? Maybe you need an extra body, and you can just play Cyrano in the background until that fateful moment when everything is revealed with hilarious results.

Such is the case in The Truth About Cats & Dogs, a pleasantly funny romance that takes another twist on the Cyrano tale, by taking two very different women (Janeane Garofalo and Uma Thurman) and pitching them at one guy (English actor Ben Chaplin).

In this version, Garofalo plays Abby Barnes, a veterinarian who hosts the titular pet-oriented talk show. When Brian (Chaplin) calls in about his new dog's wacky antics, he is immediately smitten by Abby's voice. And when Abby describes herself, it isn't is a 5'1" brunette, but as Abby's model neighbor Noelle (Thurman)--a 5'10" blonde. A simple wig is out of the question, so Abby opts to "use" Noelle's body as a surrogate, wooing Brian on the phone while Noelle exhibits her physical charms. Meanwhile, Brian unwittingly falls for both of them.

The sweetness factor of The Truth About Cats & Dogs is almost unbearable--full of oohs and aahs, largely due to literal doses of humor relating to the parade of animals that punctuates the film. Audrey Wells' debut script is also a mushy affair, but it works well enough, even though it feels a lot longer than it really is (95 minutes). In fact, everything here would work a lot better if all the best jokes hadn't been beaten to death in the rotten trailer for an otherwise pretty good movie.

That aside, Michael Lehmann's direction (he also directed Heathers) is fine for this story, but the real kudos go to Garofalo, who is one of the funniest comedic actresses working today and proves it here, and, surprisingly, to Chaplin, who bored me to tears in last year's period drama Feast of July, but turns out to be great in the comic medium.

I'm really pleased that the theme of romance transcending physical beauty is being explored again, but the only problem is that Garofalo is plenty cute in her own right, and in my opinion, can hold her own against the supermodels any day. (In interviews, Garofalo repeatedly rails against this movie.) But it's still great to see her get the guy.

Twoo wove.

Cast & Crew

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The Truth About Cats & Dogs Rating

" Good "

Rating: PG-13, 1996


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