Yet another modern riff on the Cyrano de Bergerac theme, this thinly conceived comedy climbs above its material thanks to charming performances by the three principals (as well as a wildly expressive dog named Hank) and a genial tone.
Director Michael Lehman tries his hand at an utterly conventional comedy scripted by first-time writer (and former disc jockey) Audrey Wells. The premise is sheer simplicity, with a touch of screwball farce that Lehmann can’t quite maintain.
Janeane Garofalo plays Abby, host of a radio talkshow about pets who talks a caller, dreamy photographer Brian (Ben Chaplin, making his US debut after roles in a number of British films, among them The Remains of the Day), through a threatening experience with a dog he’s acquired for a photo shoot. Brian suggests the two meet, yet when asked what she looks like, Abby describes her model neighbor, Noelle (Uma Thurman) – a 5-foot, 10-inch blonde who can literally stop traffic. A confusing situation is made worse when both women become interested in Brian.
Because there’s virtually no suspense about how things will turn out, the pic drags somewhat before its conclusion as the courtship period is padded before Brian inevitably discovers what a chump he’s been.
What really makes the pic special in places is Garofalo’s dry, self-effacing wit and Thurman’s ditzy, old-style Hollywood glamour.