Cats Don’t Dance is a mildly entertaining animated film that tells a familiar story: a small town cat, Danny (voiced by Scott Bakula), comes to Hollywood to make it big. Adversity strikes when he discovers that Hollywood isn’t interested in animal talent, and offers all the good roles to humans (an allegory to Hollywood’s treatment of minorities). However, Danny has a spirit that can’t be quashed, and struggles to prove his worth to the studio head. However, Hollywood’s biggest star, and biggest tyrant, Darla Dimple doesn’t want any animal to steal her spotlight, and is willing to go to any lengths to stop Danny. Cats Don’t Dance, as a Warner Bros. film, draws from a different heritage than Disney, for example, and as a result seems to be influenced heavily by the frantic action of the Looney Tunes, at the expense of deep characterization. By no means is Cats Don’t Dance a groundbreaking film, but it has its enjoyable moments. A lot of the 1930s era Hollywood details will be lost on children, but the film’s reckless pacing should grab their attention. The songs, by Randy Newman, aren’t particularly memorable, but you don’t mind them while they’re playing. In short, a slight, but not very strong recommendation for a mildly interesting, but never captivating, cartoon.
Also running with the theatrical release of Cats Don’t Dance is a cartoon short, Pullet Surprise, featuring Foghorn Leghorn and, in a rare appearance, Pete Puma. Compared with recent animated shorts (such as 1996’s pitiful Superior Duck), Pullet Surprise shines. However, it never breaks the boundary into the truly madcap mayhem of the classic Looney Tunes shorts. At least there are a few chuckles, showing that the cartoon short business is heading in the right direction, but it’s not quite there yet.