Cats Don't Dance

In this animated 1997 musical a cat named Danny, whose annoying voice is Scott Bakula's, goes to Hollywood to seek his fortune—an unremarkable story that director Mark Dindal embellishes with bouts of abrasive psychedelia. It's hard to empathize with Danny, who's overearnest and gullible. But there's some provocative imagery, most of it involving a sort of Shirley Temple evil twin who pretends to help Danny network but is really setting him up. The various animals, all clients of the same talent agent, represent typecast actors in the industry—there are never any good roles for fish, turtles, goats, etc, they lament—an allegory that's likely to be lost on kids. But disengaged as I was during the rest of the story, I still experienced a shiver of delight when everything turned out happily ever after. The screenplay is by Roberts Gannaway, Cliff Ruby, Elana Lesser, and Theresa Pettengill; Gene Kelly consulted on the choreography during preproduction. G, 75 min.

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