Picks and Pans Review: The Truth About Cats & Dogs
Uma Thurman, Janeane Garofalo, Ben Chaplin
This charming romantic comedy ought to make Garofalo a star. A compact brunette, she has an appealingly smart, don't-mess-with-me demeanor and, stepping easily into her first lead role here after supporting parts in Reality Bites and HBO's The Larry Sanders Show (and a short stint last season on Saturday Night Live), delivers an assured comic performance that buoyantly carries this slight film along on a wave of goodwill.
The Truth About Cats & Dogs is all about audience wish fulfillment, especially if your mom ever told you that it's not how you look but what's inside that counts (and then tried to sell you the Brooklyn Bridge). Borrowing a page from Cyrano de Bergerac, Cats & Dogs has Garofalo playing a plain Jane, a veterinarian with her own call-in radio show, who maintains a hot and heavy phone relationship with the man of her dreams (Chaplin), but hides behind her tall, tawny model pal (Thurman, making like Goldie Hawn) when he actually comes calling.
That these two women successfully carry off the masquerade for as long as they do is highly implausible, but the movie works surprisingly well, thanks to its winning cast and director Michael Lehmann's light touch. But as Miss Personality triumphs (as she must) over Miss Gorgeous in young-and-tan Los Angeles, my mind kept flashing to that old Beach Boys song, "Wouldn't It Be Nice." Nice? You bet. Likely? Only in the movies. (PG-13)
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