The Truth About Cats And Dogs [Blu-Ray] Michael Lehmann

The Truth About Cats And Dogs [Blu-Ray] Michael Lehmann
New on Blu-Ray, in a bare-bones edition, the 1996 rom-com The Truth About Cats And Dogs now seems a bit of a period piece, and not just because of the lack of cellphones and the bizarre sight of people listening to the radio and talking for hours on their landlines, etc. The film views like a product of the post-feminist '90s in ways that makes you positively wistful for the Clinton era. Essentially a sweetly comic, modern-day, distaff version of Cyrano De Bergerac, Cats And Dogs follows a talk-radio veterinarian, Abby (Janeane Garofalo), who is asked out by a smitten caller (Ben Chaplin). Pathologically insecure about her body as she is, Abby describes herself as tall and blond, and soon finds an available substitute in her model neighbour, Noelle (Uma Thurman). The farcical complications proceed from there, but the film maintains a delicately sentimental tone throughout. Watching this now, in the context of contemporary romantic comedies in all their permutations, things like The Ugly Truth or the Judd Apatow/Apatow-knockoff bromances, and so on, the movie is comparatively genteel, quaint even about matters of sexuality ― just imagine all the dirty jokes that could be spun out of the phone-sex scene alone if it were a contemporary movie. It's also unabashedly feminist in its orientation, with the core relationship being between Abby and Noelle, the contrasting pair (one small, brunette and acerbic, the other tall, blond and dim) finding a common bond in their status as women navigating the modern media landscape, plagued by body issues. Would such a scenario fly today and if it did, would it be yawned off the screen? The film is certainly no masterpiece ― many of the supporting characters are stock, while numerous situations are too cutely fabricated and the happy ending feels suspiciously tacked-on. That said, the film has an essential good nature that's sadly missing from many comedies now, and it's progressive-minded in a way that makes the politics of most of today's rom-coms seem positively Neanderthal. Watching it may be the antidote you didn't know you needed for the knowing crassness of current comedy fare. It's also a testament to the intelligent radiance of Garofalo, and it makes you long for the vehicles that should have been made for her star persona in the wake of this movie, even if she disparaged it later on. One major gripe about the package: the conspicuously poor quality of the Blu-Ray transfer. The movie is good enough to merit less perfunctory treatment than this. (Fox)