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"CATS DON’T DANCE"
(1997) (Voices of Scott Bakula, Jasmine Guy) (G)

Alcohol/
Drugs
Blood/Gore Disrespectful/
Bad Attitude
Frightening/
Tense Scenes
Guns/
Weapons
None None Moderate Mild Minor
Imitative
Behavior
Jump
Scenes
Music
(Scary/Tense)
Music
(Inappropriate)
Profanity
Mild None Minor None None
Sex/
Nudity
Smoking Tense Family
Scenes
Topics To
Talk About
Violence
None Mild None Minor Minor


QUICK TAKE:
Children's Animated: A singing and dancing cat tries to make it big in 1930's Hollywood.
PLOT:
It's the 1930's, and Danny (voice of SCOTT BAKULA), a singing and dancing cat, moves from Kokomo, Indiana to Hollywood to make it big in show business. What he doesn't realize is that only humans are the stars, and the biggest is Darla Dimple (voice of ASHLEY PELDON), a spoiled, but powerful curly-haired starlet whose huge bodyguard, Max, helps her maintain control over Hollywood. Of course Danny has to learn this the hard way, and in doing so meets other animal actors such as Woolie, an elephant pianist (voice of JOHN RHYS-DAVIES), Tillie, the soprano hippo (voice of KATHY NAJIMY), and Pudge, the diminutive penguin (voice of MATTHEW HARRIED). He also meets fellow cat Sawyer (voice of Jasmine Guy, singing voice of Natalie Cole), a former aspiring starlet that the system defeated who now works for a talent agency. With a determined, never-say-quit attitude, Danny rallies the other animals to make one last ditch effort to convince Mr. Mammoth (voice of GEORGE KENNEDY), a big-time studio executive, that they are worthy of becoming stars themselves.
WILL KIDS WANT TO SEE IT?
Although it's not a Disney-animated feature, it looks and feels enough like one to get those kids who love such films to want to see this one.
WHY THE MPAA RATED IT: G
For not containing any material that would warrant a higher rating.
CAST AS ROLE MODELS:
  • DANNY is a determined character who thinks that anything is possible if you strongly believe in doing it. Although he's momentarily depressed after big setbacks, he always bounces back with a can-do, positive attitude.
  • SAWYER is a somewhat cynical character who was defeated by the system she so actively courted in her younger days. She does come around, however, when invigorated by Danny's positive attitude.
  • DARLA DIMPLE is a spoiled brat who gets her way whenever she wants. She's also very selfish and doesn't want anyone, or any animal, to share her spotlight.
  • CAST, CREW, & TECHNICAL INFO

    HOW OTHERS RATED THIS MOVIE


    OUR TAKE: 7.5 out of 10
    While not quite up to the caliber of Disney's best offerings in this genre ("Beauty & the Beast" among others), this film certainly stands with the rest as an equally entertaining production. It is filled with fun, toe-tapping tunes and lots of lively action, both of which will keep kids entertained for its duration. The songs by Randy Newman (who also scored "Toy Story" and many other films) capture the sounds of the 1930's film making era and are enjoyable to hear. Although the movie's animation isn't quite up to par with Disney's latest spectacles, it does look good and certainly is better than what any other animation production house has offered in the past few years. Many details are filled in (shadows & depths), and fine facial expressions are given to the characters that make them seem that much more realistic. Kids will enjoy this film, as will their adult counterparts who will find many "in" jokes and older film and star references that give the production more of a well-rounded feel. It's also good in that it offers a main character with a positive attitude who believes anything is possible if one's mind is set to doing it (imagine an animated, singing Jimmy Stewart in "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington"), and this "can do" attitude is a good attribute to instill in younger children. Hopefully they'll pick that up on their own, but with the often frantic action on screen and the ever-present swing music playing in the background, they may be too preoccupied to notice. Still, we had a fun time at the screening and think that kids will love this film and parents certainly won't be bored by it, and will probably like it as much as the little ones. We give it a big 7.5 out of 10.
    OUR WORD TO PARENTS:
  • There's nearly nothing to object to in this film that should be suitable for children of most ages. The "worst" of the material are several scenes where Max and/or Darla have evil, ominous looking appearances that might scare very young kids. Older children, however, will see that just as part of the fun of the film. A scene listed in "Imitative Behavior" where Danny stands atop a moving taxi isn't overly likely to make kids do that (since he's a cartoon cat), but we've included it just in case. As said above, the film's "can do" attitude is a great message and/or trait ("any impossible dream can come true if you believe it") for children to learn, so this film comes with that added bonus.
  • There is a short "Looney Toons" cartoon before the main feature starring Foghorn Leghorn and Pete the Puma. The short plot involves Pete trying to get to chickens in a chicken house while Foghorn disrupts his attempts. In it, Foghorn smashes Pete through a small opening in the chicken house, Pete gets whacked by a bull, Foghorn slugs Pete in the face and then drops an anvil on Pete’s head, a small chicken thrashes Foghorn back and forth on the ground, and the word "moron" is uttered.

  • ALCOHOL OR DRUG USE
  • None, but a fish says she needs a drink and then splashes water on her face.
  • BLOOD/GORE
  • None.
  • DISRESPECTFUL/BAD ATTITUDE
  • All of Hollywood has both toward the animal actors. It’s most personified by Darla who says that she hates animals and later bites off the heads of animal crackers in front of Danny. In addition to her attitude toward animals, she’s a spoiled brat who throws a tantrum if she can’t have her way.
  • Sawyer and the other animals are cynical or have given up about making it big in Hollywood.
  • The other animals make fun of how Danny performed in his first musical number (and his feelings are hurt when he hears them).
  • Darla sets up Danny and the other animals for an embarrassing fall in front of Mr. Mammoth.
  • FRIGHTENING SCENES
  • Darla performs a song in a spoof of Noah’s Ark, and sings that all the people drowned as did some of the animals. Younger kids might not like the sound of that.
  • The first time we see Darla’s bodyguard, Max, he appears as a huge, menacing butler- looking character who walks with loud, crashing footsteps.
  • There are a few scenes where Darla and her bodyguard/assistant Max, look fearsome and/or menacing and may scare younger kids.
  • There’s a scene where Danny, Sawyer and the other animals are on an ark tossed about by an on-stage thunderstorm created by Darla and Max. The lightning bolts and music may scare younger viewers, but the danger soon turns into an adventure as the ark rides a tidal wave throughout the back lots of the studio.
  • Max chases after Danny, and punches his huge fists through a roof that Danny’s running across. Later, Max chases Danny around a large parade-type balloon and displays his big, sharp menacing teeth.
  • GUNS/WEAPONS
  • Battleship Big Guns: Fired during a musical number.
  • IMITATIVE BEHAVIOR
  • Danny stands atop a moving taxi during a musical number.
  • Phrases: "Shut up," "Noodle head," and "Fools."
  • JUMP SCENES
  • None.
  • MUSIC (SCARY/TENSE)
  • There is a minor amount of scary sounding music in a few scenes.
  • MUSIC (INAPPROPRIATE)
  • None.
  • PROFANITY
  • None.
  • SEX/NUDITY
  • None.
  • SMOKING
  • A fish character smokes whenever she’s on screen.
  • A talent agent smokes a cigar and puts one in Danny’s mouth, but it’s never lit.
  • Mr. Mammoth smokes a cigar.
  • TENSE FAMILY SCENES
  • None.
  • TOPICS TO TALK ABOUT
  • Persistence and positive thinking.
  • VIOLENCE
  • Tillie knocks a goat character aside and into a wall so that Danny can sit down.
  • A talent agent slams open a door and smacks Sawyer into a wall.
  • Danny accidentally slams Sawyer’s tale in a door.
  • Max drops Danny to the ground from way up in the air.
  • Max punches holes through a roof with his fists as he tries to get Danny.
  • Darla smacks Pudge and then says to the animals, "I should have drowned you all when I flooded the stage."



  • Reviewed March 24, 1997

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