Plot: What’s it about?
Abby Barnes (Janeane Garofalo) runs a popular radio program, as well as being a respected veterinarian. She takes calls from all sorts of people with pet problems and always seem to have an answer, though her own life seems littered with errors. Her self esteem is low and she has no confidence, which means her love life is absent and she has little hope of getting her romance potential back on track. But when she helps a man in need on the telephone named Brian (Ben Chaplin), she soon finds herself back in the game once again. It seems Brian is taken with her on air persona and asks her out, which excites her, but also scares her to death. In a moment of panic, she describes herself as tall and blonde, which she isn’t, but her neighbor Noelle (Uma Thurman) most certainly is. Abby begs Noelle to take her place, but Brian soon sees a difference between the radio host and the in person Abby, which makes him wonder. Soon, the romance buds, but Brian seems to fall for Abby’s mind and Noelle’s good looks…
I’m not much on romantic comedies to be honest, but this one really won me over, perhaps due to the terrific performances. The film still has the usual sap elements, but they seem more humorous here, thanks to the quirky writing and characters. I think it is more realistic than most genre entries, as the characters seem more real, though still not within the natural realm, I suppose. Janeane Garofalo is superb and adds a lot of laughs, while Uma Thurman, Ben Chaplin, and Jamie Foxx supply more than solid performances also. The chemistry between Garofalo and Thurman is wonderful, especially the extended banter between them, very humorous stuff indeed. I know these kind of movies don’t jive with everyone, but I usually dislike them myself, so I give this one a very high recommendation. I do wish Fox had done more with this release, but even so, the basics are covered and as such, I think it is worth the cash.
I think she’s been typecast all too often, but she plays the role so well, I can’t help but love Janeane Garofalo’s performance. Her hard edge and biting sense of humor work to perfection here, as Garofalo seems born to take on this role. I almost think it was written with her mind, or at least she was given a lot of freedom, as she seems quite natural indeed. A few moments stand out above the rest, but this is a great all around effort from Garofalo, to be sure. You can also see her work in such films as Mystery Men, Cop Land, Reality Bites, Permanent Midnight, The Minus Man, Steal This Movie, and Clay Pigeons. The cast here also includes Uma Thurman (Gattaca, Beautiful Girls), Ben Chaplin (The Thin Red Line, Lost Souls), James McCaffrey (The Tic Code, Coming Soon), and Jamie Foxx (Any Given Sunday, The Player’s Club).
Video: How does it look?
The Truth About Cats & Dogs is presented in a 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer. As usual, Fox has delivered a terrific looking effort here, which should please fans and first timers all the same. The image is sharp and very clean, with little blemishes to speak of, which is always a welcome notion. The colors are bright and bold, while flesh tones seem natural and warm also. No errors with the contrast either, as deep blacks and strong detail levels are present throughout, very impressive indeed. In the end, this is a more than solid presentation and I could find no serious flaws, solid overall work in all respects.
Audio: How does it sound?
The included Dolby Digital 5.1 track is a good one, but since this is dialogue driven material, don’t expect a lot of action here. The surrounds are used often, but usually for music or subtle presence, which keeps the mix quite natural in scope. The dialogue is the main focus here though and since it sounds excellent, I have no real complaints to lodge. It won’t push your system much, but it more than does this material justice, which is what counts. This disc also includes 2.0 surround tracks in English and Spanish, as well as subtitles in English and Spanish.
Supplements: What are the extras?
This disc includes the film’s theatrical trailer.