FILM REVIEW: SHE’S ALLERGIC TO CATS
After premiering at Fantasia International Film Festival in 2016, SHE’S ALLERGIC TO CATS has just landed on VOD April 7th. The film, written and directed by Michael Reich, comes across as semi-autobiographical. During its festival appearances, it was praised. And to this, I ask, um….were we watching the same movie?
Michael Pinkney plays Michael Pinkney, a dog groomer in Hollywood. When not learning how to sensually shampoo a dog, he is trying to get his big creative project off the ground. What is Mike’s grand plan to make it big? A remake of the Brian De Palma classic CARRIE– but filmed entirely with cats.
He’s having trouble getting financed, rats have infested his house, and he keeps forgetting to eat his bananas. Things start looking up for Michael when he meets the beautiful and passionate Cora (Sonja Kinski– daughter of 1982’S CAT PEOPLE star, Nastassja Kinski). She supports his endeavors but also, here’s where the title of the film comes in.
The stylistic choices made in SHE’S ALLERGIC TO CATS are, well, they are choices. The film tries to cash in on our collective nostalgia for the analog technology of our youth- as it purposefully looks like it was shot on home video. However, it just ends up reminding us why we went digital in the first place.
SHE’S ALLERGIC TO CATS features some of our lead character’s own experimental home movies. The film also had bizarre and surreal dream sequences full of naked people, bananas, rats, and flaming cat carriers. These are some of the most visually interesting parts of the film. However, they also did not at all help me figure out WTF was going on.
SHE’S ALLERGIC TO CATS had the potential to be B movie gold. Still, I felt the film’s comedy never made it past the conceptual “wouldn’t it be funny if….’ stage of the story making process. The comedy in this film loses its humor once its jokes become actualized. There is also an extremely offensive ongoing joke about “transvestites” running throughout, which frankly makes me wonder what the hell they were thinking. The funniest part of this film is the brief mention of an all cats remake of CARRIE. Yet, there are no glorious scenes of cats wearing prom dresses and far too much footage of random dog washing.
I don’t even really think the film’s performances can save it because the characters were so abysmally written. At least SHE’S ALLERGIC TO CATS somewhat realizes this, calling the main character a “sad, dirty man-baby” in one of the films brief moments of self-awareness. Other characters seem to have no other point than being eccentric Hollywood types- but the film is less MULHOLLAND DRIVE and more DUMB AND DUMBER. The film underutilized Kinski, and not even her captivating onscreen presence can save the shallow pigeonholing of Cora as the ‘love interest’.
I can say one good thing about the film: it over-excelled in its primary goal. Which was for the audience to come away saying “that was weird”. I guarantee you will say this exact phrase, should you choose to sit through SHE’S ALLERGIC TO CATS. The film seems to be going for cult movie status without putting in the time and effort it takes for a movie to truly be so.
“The funniest part of SHE’S ALLERGIC TO CATS is the brief mention of an all cats remake of CARRIE. Yet, there are no glorious scenes of cats wearing prom dresses and far too much footage of random dog washing.”
1 Tombstone out of 5…