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Film / The Truth About Cats & Dogs

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"You can love your pets, just don't love your pets."
The Truth About Cats and Dogs is a 1996 Romantic Comedy film directed by Michael Lehmann, involving a Cyrano de Bergerac Love Triangle.

Hollywood Homely Abby Barnes (Janeane Garofalo) is a radio veterinarian, who falls in love with a photographer to her radio show called named Brian (Ben Chaplin). When Abby gets a blind date with Brian, her insecurity about her appearance causes her to send in her conventionally beautiful neighbor Noelle Slusarsk (Uma Thurman). Of course, Noelle develops feelings for Brian too, with complications (and hilarity) duly ensuing.

Tropes present in this film.

  • Bait-and-Switch: Much to Abby's surprise (and horror), Brian shows up to her place, wanting to see her in person. She covers her face with a beauty face mask and an eye gel mask. He asks her to throw him something she has worn. She runs around her room, making it seem like she is going to toss her underwear. Cut to Brian catching a very sexy... Keds tennis shoe.
  • Bestiality Is Depraved: Abby's advice on her radio show after a call we don't hear:
    "You can love your pets, just don't love your pets."
  • Brick Joke: After their phone date ends up in phone sex:
    Abby: That night on the phone? I'm pregnant.
  • Dumb Blonde: Played with. Noelle sometimes acts ditzy and is very insecure about both her looks (despite being a model) and her intelligence. Part of her Character Development is that she grows more intellectually curious and is seen reading a book while at her photoshoot assignment.
  • Fluffy Tamer: Brian calls in Abby's show because he was assigned to photograph a dog wearing skates. Hank, the dog, is growling and acting very aggressive, to the point where a child actor and his mom get the hell out of his studio. She coaches him to approach the dog on his hands and knees, acting submissively (avoiding eye contact, for example). This allows him to get close enough to the dog to remove the skates and he still manages to get the cool picture.
  • The Grovel: Unusual with this trope, the film ends with the woman groveling to the guy.
  • Hair of Gold, Heart of Gold: Noelle is a sweetheart and genuinely nice towards Abby.
  • Hand-or-Object Underwear: A nude Noelle has to use a stack of loudspeakers to hide behind.
  • Informed Flaw: The plot is based around Uma Thurman's character being ''much'' more attractive than Janeane Garofalo's character, who is treated sometimes as if she was hideous.
  • Intimate Telecommunications: Abby and Brian spend several hours on the phone talking to each other. The evening is topped by masturbation on both ends.
  • I Want My Beloved to Be Happy: Noelle is attracted to Brian, but she realizes that he may be attracted to her looks but he is drawn to Abby's personality. She understands that is not a good basis for a relationship, so she goes on an out-of-town assignment to give them both some space. The "Beloved" could also apply to Abby in a platonic way.
  • Playing Cyrano: After calling Abby's show, Brian stops by the station. Abby has Noelle impersonate her and introduces herself as Donna, a friend of "Abby".
  • Public Exposure: Noelle appears as Miss January in a sexy calendar. When Brian sees "Abby" in the calendar, the jig is up.
  • Tomboy and Girly Girl: Abby to Noelle. Abby is a veterinarian, who isn't afraid of handling animals and touching gross stuff. Meanwhile, Noelle is totally image-obsessed and hates touching animals.