29 December 2011

Film review: The Truth about Cats and Dogs (starring Janeane Garofalo, Uma Thurman and Ben Chaplin)

I'm not entirely sure how this particular film ended up on my wishlist. Probably Amazon recommended it to me based on the genre (light romantic comedy); I don't think it can have been related to the actors or actresses, as I hadn't come across any of them before.

Whatever the reason, I was happy to be given 'The Truth about Cats and Dogs' for Christmas, and watched it with my husband and son a few days later.

It's the story of Abby (Janeane Garofalo) who is a vet, and hosts a radio show. Listeners with pet problems call in, and she explains what they should do. She is well-liked, but for some reason - possibly the fact that she is short - has terrible self-esteem. One day she gets a call from a man called Brian (Ben Chaplin) in an unusual and amusing situation.. and after she helps him, he asks to meet her.

Abby considers herself unattractive, and - somewhat by accident - sets him up with her tall, blonde neighbour Noelle (Uma Thurman). A case of mistaken identity ensues when Brian assumes that Noelle is Abby, and nobody lets him know the truth.. leading to a the humour that can easily go with this rather cliched situation, although Noelle is slightly irritating as a somewhat gormless dumb blonde stereotype.

Eventually all is resolved satisfactorily, and I would have liked the film very much had it not been for the added parts that pushed the rating up to 15 in the UK - a few unecessary swear words, and a bizarre, equally unecessary pseudo-sex scene via the phone. The US rating of PG-13 seems surprisingly low.

Still, overall we thought it an enjoyable film, if a little dated (it was made in 1996). It has a good message about the importance of personality above looks... although that was a little puzzling since Abby came across as considerably more attractive than the tall blonde Noelle.

Review copyright Sue's DVD Reviews

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