The Truth About Cats And Dogs: ‘plenty of one-liners’ ;
THE TRUTH ABOUT OATS AND DOGS
At some time or other, everyone must have been beguiled by the sound of a voice, on the telephone or the radio, and then been deeply disappointed to see the person in the flesh.
Abby Barnes (Janeane Garofalo, from
' cult TV favourite The Larry Sanders
Show) is a vet who hosts her own radio talk show, ‘The Truth About Cats And Dogs’, soothing the anxieties of bemused pet owners. She’s witty, charming and cultured, but has a hang-up about her looks and was absent when the self-esteem dose was being distributed - she feels she is
' not as easy on the eye as the girl next .
door. Unfortunately in her case, her nearest neighbour is gorgeous model lioelle (llma Thurman), which is probably enough to give anybody an inferiority complex.
Grateful caller Brian, much taken with the voice, seeks a date, which
Abby has no intention of keeping. Asked what she looks like, Abby comes up with a description of lioeile. When Brian turns out to be a good- looking English photographer (relative newcomer Ben Chaplin, currently being groomed by Hollywood as the next Hugh Grant), she realises her mistake. Anyone who has ever read or seen Cyrano De Bergerac knows pretty much how things are going to pan out. Director Michael Lehmann keeps things moving along in this pleasant romantic comedy with plenty of one- liners and sight gags. But the whole concept must make it one of the worst date movies ever - guaranteed to split audiences in a sexual divide between those who agree that beauty is only skin deep and those tactless enough to feel Brian had a right to be disappointed when the girl of his dreams turned out not to look like Uma Thurman. (Sue Greenway) The Truth About Cats And Dogs (15) (Michael lehmann, US, 1995) Uma Thurman, Janeane Garofalo, Ben Chaplin. 94 mins. From Fri 19. Limited general release.
DRAMA TWO DEATHS
Whisky magnate and sometime screenwriter Allan Scott adapted Stephen Dobyns's novel The 'Iiru Deal/rs ()l‘Senura Ptlr'r'irtl for this latest abortive attempt at reviving Nic Roeg's plummeting career. Needless to say. the odd bottle of The Macailan pops up as Michael Garnbon‘s Bucharest doctor convenes his old schoolchums for their annual dinner. one which this year is to have a couple ofextra frissons.
Outside in the streets. gunfire tolls and casualties mount as the revolution that'll bring down Ceausescu reaches its bloodiest hours. In the relative cairn of the dining room. meanwhile. a momentous reckoning is at hand for the host too. for at last he reveals the obsessive bond linking him with beautiful housekeeper Sonia Braga. and the extreme lengths to which he‘s been driven in conquering her affections.
Despite her obvious resources of inner
that hopes to
In the event
strength. Braga is ill-used here. She is stopped and humiliated by a plotline
iniquity. but comes over as the most unpleasant misogyny. thumped home by Garnbon‘s lumbering central performance. mean the Romanian backdrop is never convincing. thus cheapening i989‘s very real carnage. and the whole thing is made to look even worse by the dreadfully murky camerawork from the usually reliable Witold Stok.
. the twists and turns in the narrative prove the ernptiest of contrivances. overlook the film‘s numerous faults.
reputation is certainly one of them. a fact confirmed by the news that he‘s just been shooting Deli/alt in Morocco with Garnbon and Liz Hurley. Oh dear. (Trevor Johnston)
Tim Deal/IS (/8) (Nlt' Rneg. UK. /995) Michael CHIN/Tull. Sonia Braga. l’alrir'k Mala/ride. 96 nrins. Front Fri /9.
expose the depths of male
not enough to make you
Irm deaths. but Roeg's
Two Deaths: ‘numerous faults'
Coming to this unassuming film with few expectations, audiences should be prepared for a gripping emotional experience that is painstakingly and skilfully unfolded by first time writer- director Gerard Stembridge. With uncommon assurance, he weaves a
_\ compelling drama around one 24-hour
\ period in the lives of liam, an Irish
Gulltrlp: ‘dramatlc and yet understated}
army corporal (chillingly played by Andrew Connolly), and his loyal but fearful wife Tina (a fine performance from Jasmine Russell).
This takes in a frighteningly realistic
-: domestic argument over - among
other things - Tina seeing too much of their nosy neighbour and her failure to adhere to the ‘standing orders’ that
' liam makes her keep listed in an old
exercise book. Taking his military
‘ lifestyle to heart, he tries to run his
family like an army unit, but beneath
his disciplined exterior is the turmoil of a guilty secret, one that he is unaware is matched by his eager-to- please young wife.
Giving a simple story an imaginative and well thought out twist, Stembridge ensures that both liam and Tina visit many of the same places and see many of the same people on that fateful day. The depth and range of performances he elicits from a largely unknown cast - including a couple of familiar faces from Baliykissangel and Pauline Mclynn from Father Ted - adds more credibility to a story so dramatic and yet understated, it feels as if we are watching real life. In the end, that uncomfortable realism is the key to a quietly powerful film that packs a mean and unforgettable punch. (Anvrar Brett)
Gulltrlp (15) (Gerard Sternhrldge, Ireland, 1&5) Andrew Connolly, Jeanine Russell, Peter Manly. so mlos.
t Sun Zf-Wed 24. Edinburgh: Filmhouse. v
Kingpin: ‘scores low on the gagometer’
Not everyone tuned into the puerile humour of Dinnb And Dillll/Tt’l'. but the characters' upfront innocence allowed even the worst taste gags to pass quality control. On their second outing. writer-producer-director learn Peter and Bobby Farrelly are bumped down to co-director status only. which is a pity because Kingpin lacks Drnnh And I)nnr/)t'r's rapid-lire style and scores low on the gagorneter.
Woody Harrelson plays bowling's golden hope Roy Munson. whose ‘ potential goes down the plughole when he loses his right hand after a bungled hustle. Seventeen years on. Roy's a balding drunk with a beer belly and rubber prosthetic over his book; but he cart still spot talent. and reckons he can get back into the big time alongside his new Amish protege. Ishmael (Randy Quaid). But when they head off for a big money competition in Reno. it‘s Roy who has to deliver the strikes as fate brings him up against his arch enemy. Big Ern McCracken (Bill Murray).
The characters are good. but that vital bonding spark just isn‘t there. and the learning processes they're forced through suggest there‘s too much emphasis on plot and character development and not enough throwaway one-liners. The overall tone. however. is as un-pc as Hollywood gets. but the targets thernseives — the disabled. the poor. the Amish — are too easy for any real laugh points to be fairly won. And no matter what the Americans reckon. bowling doesn't work as a big screen spectator sport. Deﬁnitely not up your alley. (Alan Morrison)
K ingpin ( I 2) (Peter and BriI)I)_\"F'ttrrell_v. US. I996) Wmulv Harrelsrnt. Ram/v Quaid. Vanessa Angel.
I l 5 mins. F mm Fri I 2. General release.