After the problems of both the major-budget failure "Hudson Hawk" and the low-budget failure "Airheads", director Michael Lehmann rebounded 100% with this cute, smart 1996 romantic comedy that stars Janeane Garofalo as Abby Barnes, a pet shrink on the radio who helps out a photographer(Ben Chaplin) one day. Suddenly, he turns up seeking to return the favor. Unhappy about her looks, Abby makes her tall, blond neighbor Noelle Slusarsky(Uma Thurman) pretend to be her.
Obviously, things become messy and both woman fall for photographer Brian. The interesting twist to the proceedings is that Garofalo looks the best that she has on-screen and although Thurman looks good, she's also looked much better in other films. Anyways, the film's charm and smart humor take the audience over the bumps of believability. Not only that, but Garofalo's snappy, sarcastic humor keeps the film from being too light-weight.
Performances from both Thurman and Garofalo are excellent, although Ben Chaplin doesn't do much in a minor role. I'm suprised that Garofalo's great performance here didn't result in a great deal of additional work afterwards. She's really great with Thurman, and the two seem like very genuine friends.
"Truth About Cats & Dogs" doesn't really bring anything terribly original to the romantic comedy genre, but the film's sharp screenplay by Audrey Wells and solid direction by Lehmann make "Truth" one of the most entertaining romantic comedies of the past few years.
VIDEO: "The Truth About Cats and Dogs" receives a respectable and pleasant looking transfer from Fox, but it doesn't quite reach the level that many of the studio's efforts have recently. Sharpness and detail are good, but not great - the picture remains fairly crisp and well-defined, but has a rather "flat" feel to it, lacking depth.
There's a few small problems to contend with as well - some trace amounts of pixelation are visible, but I was pleased to see (or, not see, actually) any print flaws - the film remains clear and clean of marks and scratches.
SOUND: "Truth About Cats & Dogs" is presented in Dolby Digital 5.1, and the film's audio doesn't go far beyond dialogue. Even the score doesn't really add much of a presence to the proceedings, lightly coming from the front. Surround use is very minimal (if any), and there's no need for bass. Dialogue remains clear and easily understood though, not sounding thin or sharp. Just the basics, essentially.
MENUS:: Fox offers cute a cute main menu - a camera snaps to reveal another image from the movie and there's also a little animated transition between main & sub menus.
EXTRAS: The trailer for "Truth About Cats & Dogs" as well as two TV spots are included. In the "Fox Flix" section, you'll find trailers for fellow 4/17/01 releases "9 to 5", "For The Boys", "Nine Months", "Norma Rae" and "Working Girl".
Final Thoughts: Fox's DVD edition of "Truth About Cats and Dogs" isn't too remarkable, but the film itself is certainly a stand-out, with great performances and wonderful dialogue. Recommended (although I may have gone with "Highly Recommended" if the DVD was more impressive).