The Truth About Cats & Dogs is a 1996 American romantic comedy film directed by Michael Lehmann, starring Janeane Garofalo, Uma Thurman, Ben Chaplin and Jamie Foxx, and written by Audrey Wells. The original music score was composed by Howard Shore. The film is a romantic comedy where two women date the same man, disrupting their friendship.
Abby Barnes (Janeane Garofalo) is a veterinarian and host of a radio show called The Truth About Cats and Dogs. Photographer Brian (Ben Chaplin) calls into her show for advice, and unexpectedly sends her a gift and calls her at work to ask her out; she agrees to meet. Her insecurity about her appearance leads her to lie to him over the phone and describe herself with the physical features of her neighbor Noelle (Uma Thurman). She stands him up. After intervening in an argument between Noelle and her abusive boyfriend Roy (James McCaffrey), the two women become friends. Brian shows up unexpectedly at Abby's work at the same time as Noelle, and Abby convinces her to pretend she is Abby.
Abby adopts the persona of Donna, friend to Noelle (posing as Abby) and the two begin spending time with Brian together. They invent a story that Abby uses a different voice on the radio than in real life. He is physically attracted to Noelle, but notices that "Abby" has a distinctly different (and decidedly less intellectual) personality in person than on the radio and phone. When he calls the real Abby to ask her out again, he asks her to use her "real voice" and the two spend nearly twelve hours on the phone getting to know one another.
The two women decide to tell Brian the truth by way of Noelle showing up at his home while Abby is live on the radio, but when Noelle arrives, she is entranced by the many kind things he says about her personality and intelligence (even though he is actually talking about Abby.) She fails to tell him the truth, which nearly causes a rift between the women, but ultimately Noelle realizes that flattery about someone else may feel good in the moment but isn't authentic. She takes a two week modeling gig out of town in order to put space between herself and Brian.
Noelle returns and tells Brian to make a list of the things he loves about Abby, and to meet at the real Abby's apartment that night. He does, and reads the list to the real Abby. The first few things on the list are about Noelle's appearance, but then the list evolves into more important things about Abby that Brian has truly fallen in love with. He professes his love through the bathroom door thinking the "real Abby" is bathing inside, but gets no response. He then notices flyers for a charity event Abby is attending, complete with her photo, and realizes the truth.
Abby later approaches Brian at his bar, apologizing for her deceit and explains what really happened. Although initially dismissive, he eventually meets with Abby again and admits he has fallen for her and was only attracted to Noelle because of their deception. He suggests they start again, and Abby happily agrees.
- Uma Thurman – Noelle Slusarsky
- Janeane Garofalo – Abby Barnes
- Ben Chaplin – Brian
- Jamie Foxx – Ed
- James McCaffrey – Roy
- Richard Coca – Eric
- Stanley DeSantis – Mario