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The Truth About Cats & Dogs
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Reviews & Ratings for
The Truth About Cats & Dogs More at IMDbPro »

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1 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

One to view only when it's raining cats and dogs

Author: Geofbob from London, England
30 April 2001

Reasonably enjoyable on first viewing, I found this tedious second time round. The main problem is that the deception by radio vet Abby (Janeane Garofalo) and fashion model Noelle (Uma Thurman) goes on for far too long, and it becomes increasingly difficult to accept that Brian (Ben Chaplin) can think he's in love with Noelle, when he has every opportunity to switch his affections to Abby if he finds her more desirable. Perhaps, at the end of the day, all he's in love with is Abby's radio persona and her advice on his dog.

Surely, for the movie to really make its point - that brains should take precedence over beauty - Brian should exchange Noelle for Abby far earlier than he does, ideally before he finds out that Abby is the real radio vet. (Incidentally, I say "brains" rather than "personality" because both women are oozing with the latter; Abby simply has the higher IQ.) But the real dummy here is Brian, who not only cannot recognise Abby's charms, but who after several conversations with Noelle can't tell that she's unlikely to appreciate a present of Simone de Beauvoir's letters to Sartre. (Incidentally, OK, Noelle tells Brian that she puts on a voice for her radio program; but he's so stupid that he cannot recognise that the voice on the radio is Abby's even after a night of telephone sex with her.)

It's inevitable that this movie will be seen as a take on the Cyrano story; but really even had Cats and Dogs succeeded in all its aims it would have been very thin gruel when compared to the original masterpiece (or to Steve Martin's wonderful Roxanne) lacking any poetry or panache.

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1 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

A Criminally Wasted Opportunity

Author: lauraman01 from Nottingham, England
17 April 2001

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Be warned: spoilers ahead! Read no further if you wish to view the film with an innocent and unprejudiced eye.

The most hateworthy film is not the worst film, but the one with the elements to make a much better one.

And, not for the first time, one reason why 'The Truth' is less than the sum of its parts is the obsession with concept.

Once chosen, the Cyrano plotline had to be followed through. Regardless of the fact that the actor chosen to play 'Roxane' left whatever charm he had on his side of the screen.

Shorn of this useless baggage, one has a film. Firstly, in the stunning form of Janeane Garofalo, who is unattractive only to those from a galaxy far, far away. (And Hollywood casting directors.) And whose screen-crossing warmth - cuddlesomeness, indeed - is cut, like a good Alsace Riesling, with an acidic realism barely short of cynicism, essential for adult viewing.

And Thurman, Hollywood-thin, her too-wide, lips-look-like-they've-been done Julia Roberts mouth and sub-Durante nose plain to see, is appealingly vulnerable. (Though there is no entertainment value in seeing her brutalised by her Neanderthal boyfriend: as unnecessary as the excesses that spoilt 'Born Yesterday', of which the film is reminiscent.)

So, the ingredients are there for the much talked-of female buddy movie - 'Thelma and Louise' without the gun play. Something like this:

Garofalo - whose business is caring for dumb animals - sees getting Thurman her break on local TV as an extension of business as usual. (She is naturally nowhere near as stupid as the truly 'dumb blonde' she appears to be. That simply would not be credible.) And Thurman, even in the film itself, clearly has a college freshman crush on Garofalo (as witness the - genuinely touching - scene when she gives Garofalo a violin bow to replace the one her boyfriend broke). She reciprocates in giving her fashion, make-up and similar advice on getting a man. (Any man but the überlumpen Chaplin.) She fails, of course. (Though, through the miracle of American montage, she need take only 90 seconds to do so!)

But the final scene writes itself - the two girls, plus cat, snuggle on the sofa in their novelty jammies sharing a box of Kleenex over 'Now, Voyager' or 'Casablanca'. A real 90s happy ending - not settling, exactly, but finding contentment wherever one can.

Which brings up the other reason why the Chaplin thing was followed to the bitterly boring end. Hollywood is happy to roll out the liberal barrel: but only when more tightly controlled than security around the US president.

So when it comes to female friendship, for instance, a metaphorical three-foot rule applies. Hugging, kissing, holding hands - all that sort of girly stuff must be held tightly in check. Physical contact only when there is sufficient misery to negative any lurking eroticism. Lower down the cast list, fine. A little Sapphic colour to goose up the ratings never goes amiss. But, for leading actresses in happy times, PDAs - any DAs - must be sneaked in (as Thurman does, holding hands with Garofalo in the department store for a luxurious 15 seconds....)

I don't know where Thurman's crush on Garofalo would have led. There's no earthly reason why the film needed to be explicit on the point. (Though something might usefully have replaced the opposite-of-erotic phone sex sequence in the movie.)

Just leaving the matter open would have left viewers with a bit of a lift, instead of the suet-dumpling resting heavy on the stomach that the film actually manages.

This was supposed to be Garofalo's breakthrough movie. Instead, her film career seems more or less to have hit the buffers. This film shows just what a talent the paying public have been deprived of. Thanks to some craven and unimaginative suits.

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1 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

Worthwhile

10/10
Author: anonymous
29 March 1999

The Truth about Cats and Dogs stands out as one of the best romantic comedies of the decade for a number of reasons.

Firstly, it's actually funny, and remains funny throughout the whole film. It's amazing, but this type of film often seems to forget that it's supposed to be a comedy. The comedy comes in varied styles too, from razor sharp dialogue to full-blown slapstick.

Secondly, the film is tremendously romantic. When Abby finally gets her man, it's wonderfully satisfying. I think the main reason for this is because Abby is a person that most people can relate to. She's not the Julia Roberts/Michelle Pfeiffer/Sandra Bullock mega babe that could get any man she wanted. She's a normal woman, with normal fears and insecurities just looking for a normal relationship.

The third reason this film stands out is its wonderful leading ladies. Abby must have been written with Janeane Garafalo in mind. She is superb, a natural comedian with biting wit and surprisingly effective at the emotional moments in the film. Uma Thurman is the perfect foil as dim witted Noelle. It would have been easy for Thurman to play the stereo-typical 'dumb blonde' (ala Romy and Michelle) but she plays Noelle with complete sincerity, comfortably ditching her cool, sophisticated reputation. The relationship and growing friendship between Abby and Noelle is perhaps the most pleasing element of the movie.

The last reason this film stands out is it's message. This film would have been a joy without a point, but it has one anyway. It's not a new idea and it's not particuly subtle in the way it's presented, but there's no harm in being reminded of it in such a pleasing way.

If the film has its weak points, it's only in comparison with its strong ones. Ben Chaplin doesn't really create a strong enough impression opposite Garafalo and Thurman, but there is nothing inherently wrong with his performance, he's just outshined. The film also stretches credibility to breaking point if you stop and think about it, so it's best not to do that.

You'll laugh, you'll cry, and you'll go away happy. This is a film I wholeheartedly recommend.

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2 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

Varying the themes of Cyrano de Bergerac and Pillow Talk

7/10
Author: Stefan Kahrs from Canterbury, England
4 January 2000

A very pleasant romantic comedy, varying the themes of Cyrano de Bergerac and Pillow Talk. The quality of the dialogue is superb, and the acting (especially by lead Janeane Garofalo) is excellent too, not to mention the excellent job done by the dog and its trainer. However, the plot has one gigantic hole: the male lead (Ben Chaplin) is supposedly unable to distinguish the voices of the two female leads; giving this character some kind of a hearing impairment would have saved the plot, but the writers did not dare.

Apart from that (admittedly major) flaw the only other problem with the film is typical for the genre: the story focuses too much on the leads, it does not give the minor characters enough room to develop an identity.

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0 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

A funny comedy/romance film! If you haven't seen it, you should!

Author: movies2u from United States
24 June 2001

The truth about this film is that it is VERY good. Uma Thurman, and Janeane Garfolo are great in this film. This is a wonderful comedy and romace film! If you haven't seen this film, you completely MUST SEE THIS! I give it a 10 out of 10 :) !!!

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1 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

Sweet, charming, and hilarious romantic comedy about being yourself

10/10
Author: Grace Zeh (filmgirlgz@gmail.com) from Chantilly, Virginia, USA
21 November 2005

THE TRUTH ABOUT CATS & DOGS, in my opinion, is a sweet, charming, and hilarious romantic comedy about being yourself. Roy (James McCaffrey) was an absolute jerk! Brian (Ben Chaplin) was the better guy. This was because he yelled at Noelle (Uma Thurman) and broke Abby's (Janeane Garofalo) violin bow. When I think about it, the dog on roller skates was really funny. I wonder how long it took for him to get the hang of it. Anyway, everyone involved in this film did an absolutely outstanding job. Now, in conclusion, I highly recommend this sweet, charming, and hilarious romantic comedy about being yourself to any Uma Thurman, Janeane Garofalo, or Ben Chaplin fan who hasn't seen it. You're in for lots of laughter, so go to the video store, rent it or buy it, kick back with a friend, and watch it.

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3 out of 8 people found the following review useful:

Uma and Dogs

Author: tedg (tedg@filmsfolded.com) from Virginia Beach
19 December 2000

How many plots are there supposed to be? 3? 10? Anyway, here's one of them in a basic form, the old surrogate lover ploy.

Predictable, almost boring. What's interesting is Uma Thurman. I've seen her be really bad, really ineffective. And a couple times, just perfect (here and in `Beautiful Girls'). She's a soulmate of Gwyneth Paltrow who suffers from the same inconsistency (`Emma' and `Shakespeare in Love' as high points). Both are basically unattractive if you look at their features. Both are celebrated as beauties because of how they work the camera when they connect.

What chemistry makes this happen? What's behind sex? Why and how do movies create the images behind modern sex? I dunno, but I can see it working here.

Garofalo isn't great here. She's much better in `Mystery Men.'

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0 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

imago movens cattum et canem sustinet (English translation: the movie holds up a cat and a dog)

7/10
Author: Lee Eisenberg (lee.eisenberg.pdx@gmail.com) from Portland, Oregon, USA
30 January 2007

In a role somewhat predicting her roles in "Mystery Men", "Dogma" and "Steal this Movie", Janeane Garofalo plays an unglamorous radio talk show host who hires glamorous Uma Thurman to play her for a fan (Ben Chaplin); needless to say, things proliferate. Maybe at the bare minimum, this movie is looking at our obsessions with our bodies, but it certainly comes out as more than that. I always expect a lot from Janeane Garofalo, and she doesn't disappoint here. Not a great movie, but worth seeing. Also starring Jamie Foxx.

Oh, and that Latin? I just thought that it sounded neat and wanted to use it.

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0 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

An enjoyable lightweight romantic comedy

6/10
Author: MovieAddict2016 from UK
29 September 2005

Abby is a vet with her own radio talk show who answers call-in questions related to animals. When Brian (Ben Chaplin) rings with a query about his dog, they both begin to flirt. Soon after the radio broadcast he calls her private line and asks what she looks like. She claims she's a tall six-foot blonde beauty (basically) and soon he wants to meet her.

Abby gets her friend Noelle (Uma Thurman) to pose as herself so that Brian won't be disappointed. She continues to communicate with Brian via the telephone but every time he wants to see her, she has to have Noelle go out with him.

This may sound like a rather silly plot, but it's well-executed. As a friendly, simple romantic comedy, it delivers exactly what it is meant to. The performances are fine - Chaplin is okay, Garofalo is annoying as always but suits the character, and Thurman plays the ditz with a heart of gold. Clichés? Yeah. But they work.

The only scene I really had a problem with in this film was a sequence in which Abby and Brian participate in phone sex. It's kind of a clever idea but seemed, to me, rather awkward and out of place in such an otherwise family-friendly, sweet-natured comedy. Having sudden innuendos and hands reaching into pants wasn't what I expected, and I imagine it might present an awkward situation for families viewing the film with their children. I'm not a prude but I do think this was unnecessary given the film's general content and target audience.

Otherwise it's an inoffensive and gentile comedy.

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0 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

Is that it's quite good

Author: Edu-16 from New Zealand
23 August 2004

Not great - just a 6.5/10 I think. The casting is all wrong - (despite the claims by other viewers of intentional ambiguity etc.) The male lead is two dimensional, and frankly just not interesting enough for either of them to fall for. But.... !

There's a fair amount of wit and sharp humour and Janeane Garofalos has gorgeous, confident eyes that don't blink much. (She reminds me of another delicious janine - janine Turner from Northern Exposure...). JG is a very good timer of both verbal and physical humour and does it all in a deliciously understated way.

Worth a watch - but no repeats.

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