12 August 2018

FABULOUS FILMS PRESENTS: THE TRUTH ABOUT CATS AND DOGS and BACHELOR PARTY: A DOUBLE BILL OF WACKY ROM-COMS REVIEWED BY SANDRA HARRIS.




THE TRUTH ABOUT CATS AND DOGS and BACHELOR PARTY: A DOUBLE BILL OF WACKY ROM-COMS REVIEWED BY SANDRA HARRIS. ©

THE TRUTH ABOUT CATS AND DOGS. (1996) DIRECTED BY MICHAEL LEHMANN. STARRING JANEANE GAROFALO, UMA THURMAN, JAMIE FOXX AND BEN CHAPLIN.

BACHELOR PARTY. (1984) DIRECTED BY NEAL ISRAEL. STARRING TOM HANKS, TAWNY KITAEN, ADRIAN ZMED, WENDIE JO SPERBER AND WILLIAM TEPPER.

THE TRUTH ABOUT CATS AND DOGS is a film I'd be deeply ashamed for if it came out today. Even its main star Janeane Garofalo says it's anti-feminist. The film started life as a low-budget independent film but when the by-then big star Uma Thurman hopped on board, it became a big studio project with knobs on. And she ruins the film really, giving a genuinely uncomfortable-looking performance as a ditzy blonde who's so stupid, you can't even laugh at her. I was shocked by how awful her character is.

Let's have a look at the plot anyway. Janeane Garofalo plays Abby Barnes, a veterinarian radio DJ who hosts a phone-in show called THE TRUTH ABOUT CATS AND DOGS, where pet owners can call in with questions about their pets.

Abby is short and dark-haired, with a really beautiful face and sexy mouth. But Abby thinks she's ugly and she lacks confidence when it comes to love. But she's funny and smart and witty and she plays the violin marvellously and she adores her cat, who reciprocates. She's worried that she's going to grow old alone, however, and be ridiculed as some sort of spinsterish old maid crazy old cat lady type.

When Abby is asked out by Brian, an English photographer in America and caller to the show who's just acquired a huge dog called Hank, she tells a little white lie. She tells him she's 'five-foot-ten, blonde and thin,' while looking at a poster of her neighbour and friend Noelle (Uma Thurman) who models.

In what retrospectively occurs to Abby as a really bad move, she asks the straggly, stringy-haired blonde beanpole Noelle to attend the date in her place, pretending to be Abby. Brian, who's already fallen for the real Abby's voice on the radio show, falls head-over-heels in love with Noelle's looks.

Brian must be a moron himself, because he never questions that the moronic, practically illiterate Noelle can never converse wittily and intelligently with him in person the way she appears to be able to on the phone. But of course it's the real Abby he's been chatting to- and more!- on the phone and he just loves those conversations because they're- ahem!- so stimulating.

So, the girls ask themselves, who is Brian really in love with here? Is it Noelle's looks, Abby's charm, book-smarts and personality, or is it an amalgam of both? Either way, even a himbo like the wishy-washy Brian (a poor man's Hugh Grant) is going to be mighty pissed off when he discovers that these two broads have been playing him for a mug, however well-intentioned it all started out.

I would sincerely hope that the women of today would realise that Uma Thurman's character Noelle is not a good role-model. For one thing, she allows her horrible boyfriend Roy to physically and verbally abuse her, calling her a dumb bitch all the time and ridiculing and sabotaging her efforts to better herself, like when she tries and fails to become a newsreader.

She doesn't seem to have ever held a book before- she handles the one Brian gives her like it's an unexploded bomb- and she admits openly that she 'doesn't ever eat' so that she can 'look good on the outside.' Well, I think she looks like a walking, talking skeleton in a dress but hey, that's just my opinion.

It's also so aggravating that the gorgeous Abby, who has so much going for her, both
physically and personality-wise, thinks she's not as good as Noelle just because she's not a six-foot beanpole topped with a mop of stringy blonde hair. I wonder what the female author of the screenplay, Audrey Wells, herself a short dark American radio DJ, thinks about what Hollywood did to her script...?

'Hi, come on in, drugs to the right, hookers to the left!'

'Hey, listen up everyone! Have I had sex with anyone in this room?'

BACHELOR PARTY is sexist and offensive too, but at least it does exactly what it says on the tin and doesn't pretend to be something it's not. It's even really funny at times. Tom Hanks plays Rick Gassko, a school bus driver along the lines of Otto the school bus driver from THE SIMPSONS.

Rick is easy-going to the point of not really caring about anything seriously. He lives in a tip, has no plans to improve his situation and his rich future father-in-law loathes his guts, deeming him to be in no way good enough for his precious daughter Debbie.

The Dad is practically apoplectic when Rick and Debbie decide to get married and so is Cole, Debbie's rich, snobby and utterly unpleasant ex-boyfriend, whom the Dad incidentally thinks is the ideal choice for the beautiful toothsome Debbie. She has a fabulous tawny mane of hair to match her cute real-life name and any guy worth his salt would be thrilled to have her as his missus.

Of course, you can't have a wedding without a bridal shower for her and a bachelor party for him. Rick's party animal mates plan to throw him the biggest, wildest, bitching-est bachelor party that's ever been seen.

Debbie doesn't mind Rick's having a bachelor party- at least, she can't actively ban him from having one- but she's adamant that there must be no strippers or hookers and Rick absolutely must not have any sexual contact whatsoever with them if they are present.

Which is unfortunate for Debbie, because Rick's mates are planning on having strippers, hookers, drugs, a suicidal former school-friend, a real-life donkey, an Indian pimp, transexual prostitutes, assorted hangers-on and random passers-by at this legendary bachelor party of Rick's.

Rick really does love Debbie and he genuinely wants to be faithful to her, but he feels an understandable amount of loyalty towards his friends as well. They've been mates for years- they wear each others' underwear every Sunday night, for chrissakes- and so, if they want to throw him this bad-ass bachelor party, well then, he has a responsibility to enjoy it and get the most out of it.

Can he be the guest of honour at this truly out-of-control stag do and still be true to the gorgeous Debbie? It remains to be seen. Watch out for Debbie's genteel society Mom getting to grips with Nick the Dick (aka MEAT) in the male strip club and for the nasty Cole, the bachelor party saboteur, hanging out of a tenth-story hotel window in the altogether, much to the discomfort of the young couple apparently about to have sex for the first time. Though they couldn't possibly know it, their timing couldn't be worse, God bless 'em.

Tom Hanks is really cute as Rick and he gets some really good, snappy one-liners as well. Mind you, he always was a good actor. I loved him in PHILADELPHIA and also in cheesy rom-com SLEEPLESS IN SEATTLE, one of my guilty pleasure films.

BACHELOR PARTY would actually make a great film to whack in the old DVD machine during a modern-day stag do. And at least today's hubbies-to-be wouldn't have to view it on a projector/screen combo from the Stone Age...! Tom Hanks himself called the film 'a sloppy rock-and-roll comedy with tits in it.' The tits in it are many and varied. I believe that's all you really need for a good bachelor party. Job done, so.

THE TRUTH ABOUT CATS AND DOGS and BACHELOR PARTY are each available to buy now (separately!) in a lovely Dual Format Edition from FABULOUS FILMS LTD./FREMANTLE ENTERPRISES.


AUTHOR BIOGRAPHY OF SANDRA HARRIS.

Sandra Harris is a Dublin-based novelist, film blogger, poet and book-and-movie reviewer. She has studied Creative Writing and Film-Making. She has published a number of e-books on the following topics: horror film reviews, multi-genre film reviews, womens' fiction, erotic fiction, erotic horror fiction and erotic poetry. Several new books are currently in the pipeline. You can browse or buy any of Sandra's books by following the link below straight to her Amazon Author Page:

http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B015GDE5RO

 You can contact Sandra at:

https://www.facebook.com/SandraHarrisPureFilthPoetry

http://sandrafirstruleoffilmclubharris.wordpress.com










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