Young Parisian Zoe hasn't talked since the death of her father, a detective, by mad criminal Victor Costa (voiced by JB Blanc in the English-dubbed version.) With her distracted mother Jeanne (Marcia Gay Harden,) who is also a detective, fighting to hunt down Zoe's father's killer, Zoe is often left in the company of her cat, Dino, who by night is the accomplice to a jewel thief (Steve Blum,) a big-hearted rogue with a passion for danger.
I really liked how this movie dealt with adult themes while still remaining accessible to children. My nine-year-old sister, a Junior Francophile-in-the-making, laughed and bounced merrily to Dino's perilous adventures. The characters were fairly intriguing for a movie that clocks at barely an hour (although the jewel thief seemed underdeveloped,) the villain Costa was evil without being too scary.
Costa's idiot sidekicks were a little stereotypical, and I didn't like the treatment of the dog character- it seemed a little cruel to me (but hey, I'll take a dog over a cat any day.) The animation was definitely a plus to me- as I said, I was uneasy with it for the first five-or-so minutes but I started to really enjoy it after that.
Zoe is a strong and unsentimental girl heroine, while still being within the boundaries of reality. I liked the character of her mother too- instead of simply making her into a 'cruddy parent' who 'doesn't care,' the film made her her into a fierce woman dedicated to finding her husband's killer at any cost- until she realizes how much it may cost her.
I don't think this movie is up to par with 'the best of the best' (i.e. "Up" or Hayao Miyazaki,) but it's certainly better than anything Dreamworks has put out lately. There's scarcely a dull moment as the Zoe and her mother cross paths with the jewel thief and try to stop Costa from committing his most dastardly heist yet. "A Cat in Paris" is a smart, brightly colored, entertaining excursion into mystery and intrigue.