She’s Allergic to Cats is an absolute anomaly. Incorporating elements of American independent cinema, Jon Moritsugu-style filmmaking and even early video art, music video director Michael Reich has created something that is, at once, missing a cohesive audience and the sort of work that we need right now.
But despite its experimental beauty, the final product is occasionally too frequently incoherent. It is pretty obvious that Reich has a talent for video art and that he has something to say. Unfortunately, She’s Allergic to Cats’ ambitious video art-style approach is hindered by the narrative elements, leading to a film that is simply not the correct platform for its aesthetics.
She’s Allergic to Cats tells the story of Mike Pinkney, playing himself, who works as a dog groomer in Hollywood with aspirations of becoming a well-renowned video artist. While living through this menial, frequently degrading existence, Mike meets and falls in love with Cora (Sonja Kinski), which leads to a healthy helping of concentrated weirdness.
While this may sound odd to a large segment of the audience, the weakest part of this film is the narrative. Of course, experimental media often fails to gain a proper release, so a shoed-in narrative is certainly understandable. However, all it does is stand in the way of Reich’s avant-garde weirdness. The third act’s narrative elements are at least somewhat commendable due to a required experimental bent, which the film delivers on in its most exciting and unrestricted wheelhouse. Scenes leading up to it drag quite a bit because those aforementioned psychedelic moments are broken up by lengthy shots and tedious minutiae. If Reich’s whole film was more like the final act, the whole project would be much more honest and more enjoyable.
It is difficult to speak ill of She’s Allergic to Cats, if only because it is a daring project in a field of repetitive genre films. However, it would be just as difficult to forgive its issues due to that. In short, this film will likely not blow you away, but it’s a decent way to spend a day in quarantine.
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