The Truth about Cats and Dogs
The Truth about Cats and Dogs is a light, frothy, utterly predictable comedy that relies on a ludicrous premise: That gorgeous, smart, funny, charismatic Janeane Garofalo has self-esteem problems, and that gangly, freakish Uma Thurman stops men dead in their tracks (admit it if she wasn't a movie star, Uma would be considered mighty weird looking). Snappy writing and slick directing plus a handful of terrific actors make this movie seem to be more than the 90-minute sitcom that it actually is. Janeane plays Abby Barnes, a radio personality who doles out advice to pet owners. When one of her callers (Ben Chaplin) turns out to be drop-dead gorgeous, she gets her model neighbor (Thurman) to pretend to be her. What follows is the old Cyrano de Bergerac routine, where wacky complications arise from people who wouldn't have any problem if they would just freaking communicate with each other. Once you suspend disbelief that any man with half a brain would confuse Garofalo with Thurman on any level if you can suspend disbelief you may be able to enjoy the charming script and the delicious actors. The scenes where Garofalo and Chaplin engage in a lengthy telephone conversation that ultimately segues into phone sex are intimate, funny and erotic, and the interaction between Thurman and Garofalo is delightful. You'll also find out how to get a turtle to pop its head out of its shell. Garofalo has never been better than here (with the possible exception of her turn in The Matchmaker) and Michael Lehmann directs with a deft hand, never nearing the quality of his work on Heathers, but beating the living hell out of Hudson Hawk. Keep an eye out for Garofalo's buddies David Cross and Bob Odenkirk (of TV's "Mr. Show") as bookstore patrons, and see if you can recognize a couple of uncredited radio callers' famous voices. Fox's DVD release of The Truth about Cats and Dogs offers an anamorphic widescreen transfer (1.85:1) with audio in Dolby Digital 5.1 or Dolby 2.0 Surround. Theatrical trailer, keep-case.