The Truth About Cats & Dogs (1996) - Plot Summary Poster


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  • 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.

  • A successful veternarian & radio show host with low self-esteem asks her model friend to impersonate her when a handsome man wants to see her.


The synopsis below may give away important plot points.


  • The Truth About Cats and Dogs is the story of two youngish women with good hearts and insecurity, who live in the same building. One is an intelligent brunette veterinarian of average looks, with her own radio show about caring for pets; the other is a blonde beginner fashion model of modest intellect, with a psychologically abusive manager who is also her lover. The two women form a friendship after the veterinarian stands up for the model when she hears the model's manager abusing her in the hallway.

    The veterinarian has a handsome and charming photographer call into her radio show about a difficult dog. Her success in helping the man calm the dog causes him to become smitten with her, so he invites her on a date. She, however, is ashamed of her average appearance, so she describes herself to him on the phone as having her model neighbor's appearance, and then proceeds to convince her neighbor to play the role of her in person - but she speaks to him personally when he calls her on the phone to have profound conversations. The man becomes confused due to the differing personalities of the woman on the phone and the woman on the live dates - he has fallen in love with the veterinarian on the phone but is put off by "her" vacuousness in person, although "she" is very physically attractive.

    The man eventually realizes that the veterinarian with whom he has fallen in love is the brunette woman of average appearance, and that the woman he has been seeing in person is the veterinarian's model neighbor. He comes to accept his love for the veterinarian, and forgives the women despite their deception.

    And so a woman of humble appearance grows to know her own value. The model also is taught to realize her worth and learns not to tolerate the abuse of a cruel man.

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