Janeane Garofalo plays Dr. Abby Barnes, the "Truth About Cats and Dogs" radio question-and-answer show host who unwittingly entices a listener over the radio with her soothing voice and personality. This listener, Brian, tries to meet the Abby from the radio, but Noelle, played by Uma Thurman, is mistaken for the real thing when Brian comes to the studio. Instead of clearing things up right away, the self-conscious Abby allows her best friend, Noelle, a tall, stunning blonde, to take her place for a while. Abby takes on the made-up persona of Donna, while thinking Brian would never go for her, a short, cute, brunette, who thinks she's unattractive. As the real Abby woos Brian over the phone and radio, Noelle, the pseudo-Abby, takes her place in the flesh. As time goes on, Abby feels more and more confident that Brian would rather have the beautiful Noelle than the simply attractive Abby. Written by
A modern retelling of the Cyrano de Bergerac tale, except the genders are reversed. Janeane Garafalo is a veterinarian on a radio talk show who gives on-air advice to pet owners. However, she has a poor self-image about her looks, and cocoons herself away from possible relationships, in an effort to shield herself from inevitable disappointment and hurt.
If the movie has one weakness, it's the fact that Garafalo is cast as an ugly duckling. No way, folks; this woman is beautiful. Depending on whether one prefers petite brunettes or tall blondes, you may think she's even cuter than co-star Uma Thurman.
Both Garafalo and Thurman are splendid, and play off each other well in their awkward friendship/romantic rivalry situation. Thurman's ditsy wanna-be actress is very sympathetic; Garafalo's intellectual but emotionally guarded Dr. Abby at times is heartbreaking. Ben Chaplin as Brian, the object of their affections, turns in a good performance of his own. One scene where two of these actors interact with eyes only--no dialogue for at least 30 sec.--is extremely powerful.
Funny bits pop up at strategic moments. The banter between Abby and Brian is like a one-liner ping-pong match; their spontaneous wit is fun to ride along with (almost like a Neil Simon play). Brian's dog is one of the best animals in a flick that I've seen in a while, he did comedy as well as his human counterparts.
A good movie worth spending an evening on, especially as a date flick.
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