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THE TRUTH ABOUT CATS AND DOGS ($25) is a charming, if bittersweet, romantic comedy that utilizes that oh so Shakespearean plot device of mistaken identity to tell its story. Sure, THE TRUTH ABOUT CATS AND DOGS will never be confused with Shakespeare, but its nice to know that people are still stealing from his bag of tricks.



The plot of THE TRUTH ABOUT CATS AND DOGS revolves around Abby (Janeane Garofalo), a veterinarian, who hosts her own radio talk show. One day, Brian (Ben Chaplin) calls up with a problem concerning the dog he just picked up to use in a photo shoot. Not only does Abby solve the problem, uniting master and hound in a new lifelong friendship, but her voice over the telephone piques the interest of the photographer. Smitten with the disembodied voice, Brian asks Abby out on a date. Abby is unsure of how to respond, but agrees to meet Brian- telling him that she is a "tall blonde." When Abby misses their appointment, Brian shows up at the radio station, where he meets Abby's "tall blonde" neighbor Noelle (Uma Thurman), whom he assumes is Abby. Things become complicated when Abby asks Noelle to maintain the pretense, and the two of them are suddenly vying for the same man.

Although the story is hardly credible, THE TRUTH ABOUT CATS AND DOGS succeeds because of its three leading players. I think Janeane Garofalo is absolutely adorable and find her sarcastic wit to be irresistible and completely hilarious. Uma Thurman is oh so easy on the eyes and I would watch her in anything, even if they made a film of her reading the telephone directory. Ben Chaplin is ideally cast as the bemused and confused suitor, who finds himself caught between two women and doesn't have a clue. The cast of THE TRUTH ABOUT CATS AND DOGS also includes Jamie Foxx and James McCaffrey.


20th Century Fox Home Entertainment has made THE TRUTH ABOUT CATS AND DOGS available on DVD in a 1.85:1 wide screen presentation that has been enhanced for playback on 16:9 displays. THE TRUTH ABOUT CATS AND DOGS is a modestly budgeted romantic comedy and the image on the DVD pretty much bares that out. While the transfer looks very nice, it doesn't set any standards for video presentation. Everything appears reasonably sharp and well defined, but nothing leaps out at the viewer. Some shots appear softer than others, but the movie never looks fuzzy. Colors are rendered with a natural level of saturation, although some hues appear more vibrant than others. Flesh tones remain modestly appealing throughout the presentation. Neither chroma noise nor smearing are on hand to detract from the quality of the picture. Blacks are pretty accurate and shadow detail is adequate. The element used for the transfer displays some minor blemishes, but otherwise is in good shape. Digital compression artifacts remain out of sight on this cleanly authored dual layer DVD.

The Dolby Digital 5.1 channel soundtrack for THE TRUTH ABOUT CATS AND DOGS offers a very standard comedy mix. The mix is front heavy, with the forward soundstage seeing almost all the activity, while the surround channels come off as being rather anemic, providing only some ambience and musical fill. Channel separation is decent in the front speakers, providing some directional effects, plus the music has nice stereo imaging. THE TRUTH ABOUT CATS AND DOGS is very much dialogue driven film, which fortunately, is reproduced here with full intelligibility. English and French Dolby Surround soundtracks are also encoded onto the DVD, as are English and Spanish subtitles.

Animation and sound enhance the interactive menus, which provide access to the standard scene selection and set up features. Modest supplements that consist of a theatrical trailer, two TV spots and bonus trailers are also accessible through the menus.

I found THE TRUTH ABOUT CATS AND DOGS to be an enjoyable diversion. The DVD would appear to be a very good representation of what is an unremarkable looking and sounding movie. I have no complaints about the DVD and neither should fans of the film.


The Truth About Cats & Dogs


DVD reviews are Copyright 2001 THE CINEMA LASER and may not be copied or reprinted without the written consent of the publisher.
THE CINEMA LASER is written, edited and published by Derek M. Germano.



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