Numerous people flock to Hollywood every day in the hopes of realizing their dreams and aspirations, wanting to make it big. They long to see their projects come to life on the big screen. Some just want to see their labors of love on any screen, as long as it’s out there in the world being enjoyed. It’s their passion. It’s their art. It’s their baby. Unfortunately, most of these people still need the proverbial day job.
Michael Pinkney (Mike Pinkney) is the perfect example of this person. He’s knowledgeable when it comes to obscure movie trivia and makes video are no one wants to watch. He’s got a passion project in the works: an all-cat version of his favorite horror movie, CARRIE. Of course he also has a day job as a dog groomer.
Michael lives a solitary and routine life, day after day waking up, having breakfast and heading off to his job of washing, nail clipping and, if he’s lucky, anal expression. One day he meets the beautiful Cora (Sonja Kinski) who also happens to be Mickey Rourke’s daughter’s personal assistant. He eventually musters the courage to ask Cora on a date. Maybe watch a movie at his place. The only problem is, his place is infested with rats!
SHE’S ALLERGIC TO CATS, written and directed by Michael Reich, is both realistic and surreal at the same time. The interactions Michael has with Cora are very relatable. Their on-screen banter is initially awkward, conveying the nervousness felt by a pair on a first date. I felt empathy for Michael and his downtrodden life, full of insecurities and bad luck, and wanted so much for him to make his movie and get the girl. I, like Michael, also fell in love with Cora with her effortless beauty and deep-seated issues.
The movie becomes surreal when it dives head first into Michael’s nightmarish thoughts. These scenes are created with an 80’s VHS camcorder aesthetic. Reich’s music video directing past shines through. I appreciated this style, being a child of the 80’s, having grown up recording episodes of 120 Minutes with my VCR. I remember how difficult it was trying to edit out the commercials without cutting off any of the music videos. But anyway, it’s safe to say that I was vibing with Reich.
Not only was his visual style appealing, his writing was on point. This movie was funny! I found myself laughing out loud on several occasions. Specifically any conversations Michael has with his producer Sebastian (Flula Borg) were just gold. When he struggles to explain his CARRIE idea to Sebastian who is completely ignorant to the existence of the film only to be told that “Menstruating cats won’t get you laid” I can guarantee you’ll laugh too.
I truly enjoyed experiencing SHE’S ALLERGIC TO CATS and Michael’s descent into madness. There were interesting themes involving decaying bowls of bananas, a constant viewing of the John Travolta classic THE BOY IN THE PLASTIC BUBBLE and of course the literal and figurative rat infestation. Unfortunately I”m not certain the ending was coherent. With this type of movie it may become clearer with a second viewing. What I did learn was this: Everyone is a lost dog and that a cat will fix everything.