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Western Animation / A Cat in Paris

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A Cat in Paris (French: Une Vie de Chat) is a 2010 traditionally animated film. It was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Animated Feature.

Zoe, a young girl, has no idea that her beloved cat Dino sneaks out every night to play accomplice to a Classy Cat-Burglar named Nico, and neither does her detective mother, Jeanne. But when a notorious gangster rears his head in the city, these unlikely characters must find a way to stop his plot and gain friendship along the way.

Originally in French it received an English dub with Marcia Gay Harden as Jeanne, Steve Blum as Nico, JB Blanc as Costa and Anjelica Huston as Claudine.


  • Anti-Hero: Nico is a Classy Cat-Burglar but also the one trying to rescue Zoe.
  • Bad People Abuse Animals: The first hint that Claudine is not as good as she seems is her delight at tormenting Dino with the vacuum
  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: Claudine.
  • Cassandra Truth: Nico warns Jeanne and Lucas that he wasn't kidnapping Zoe, he was only trying to help her. And after seeing Claudine (who's in her nice lady façade,) he tried to tell the cop partners that Claudine is the one trying to hurt Zoe. This is justified since Nico is a thief and thieves usually do lie, as Jeanne points out.
  • Catch a Falling Star: Jeanne catches Nico as he falls from well over 20 feet by his bag, and this enables him to swing effortlessly and land with no problem on a gargoyle.
  • Character Title: The work is about Dino, the "cat" in the title of the movie.
  • Chekhov's Gun: Claudine's rancid perfume allows Dino and Nico to find where she and Costa's gang are holding Zoe.
  • Chekhov's Skill: Jeanne's prowess in martial arts. It allows her to fend off Costa when he tries choking her.
  • The Chew Toy: Zoe's mother's partner.
    Lucas: Ten years on the force and she's got me following cat pawprints.
  • City of Adventure: Paris becomes this to Nico and Dino when they go out thieving.
  • Classy Cat-Burglar: Nico. Bonus points for having an actual cat for a sidekick!
  • Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: Costa. Despite his flabby physique, he's able to perform acts of parkour and hunt down Nico effortlessly, something even the police couldn't do.
  • Curse Cut Short: A security guard in the beginning when he spots Nico: "You sneaky son of a—"
  • Cute Mute: Zoe, though it's implied that it started with the death of her father. She gets better.
  • Damsel in Distress: Though she's somewhat resourceful, Zoe is about as useful as an average young girl prowling on the rooftops and running from criminals.
  • Damsel out of Distress: Jeanne when Costa tries to strangle her. She kicks his butt.
  • Disney Villain Death: Costa falls from a crane after he hallucinates that a giant is there to catch him... It Makes Sense in Context.
  • Disappeared Dad: He was a police officer that was killed by Costa.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: Dino, Nico, Jeanne, and Zoe are now a family.
  • Easily Forgiven: Justified in that Nico, a cat burglar saves Zoe twice, which persuades Jeanne off-screen to prevent him from going to jail.
  • Eiffel Tower Effect: The Trope Namer is shown, and the climax of the film takes place on top of Notre Dame de Paris.
  • Et Tu, Brute?: Averted when Jeanne finds out that her cat is helping a burglar, but played straight when Zoe sees Claudine passing information to Costa.
  • Evil Brit: Costa, in the English dub, has a wicked Cockney accent.
  • Evil-Detecting Dog: Cat in this case. Dino knows who is a threat to Zoe and who is a friend.
  • Evil Smells Bad: Claudine wears some rancid perfume.
  • Fair Cop: Jeanne. If his pictures are any indication, her late husband was one too.
  • Foreshadowing: Claudine mean-spiritedly using a vacuum to get rid of Dino while she's cleaning is a huge hint that she's an accomplice of Costa.
  • Good Cop/Bad Cop: Jeanne and her partner, Lucas, have shades of this.
  • The Good, the Bad, and the Evil: Jeanne, Nico, and Costa, respectively.
  • Groin Attack: How Jeanne escapes Costa's chokehold.
  • Heel–Face Turn: Nico wasn't a bad guy per se in the beginning, but he did rob houses and museums without any scruples, and his first question is why a group of men, a girl, and a woman are in his house. When he sees Zoe is in trouble, however, and that Dino knows her, he switches his motivation to saving her from Costa.
  • Height Insult: Since Costa is too short to reach Nico when both are dangling on opposite sides of a statue, Nico begins teasing him for being short. At one point, he says, "Did your mum pick out those shorts for you?" (the joke being that he's both a Mama's Boy and so short he wears a pair of shorts as regular pants). However, Costa thinks he made a Your Mom joke.
  • The Heist: What Costa and his gang are planning.
  • He Knows Too Much: This is initially why Costa's gang try to kidnap Zoe, since she accidentally listened on their heist plan and saw her nanny was The Mole. Later on the plan changes to I Have Your Wife.
  • Held Gaze: Nico and Jeanne do this after everything is over.
  • Heroic BSoD: Both Zoe and her mother suffer from this to certain degrees. Zoe refuses to speak and Jeanne is shown breaking into sobs at work after being tormented by a demonic vision of Costa.
  • Hidden Depths: Bumbling henchman Mr. Frog mentions that he was once a dancer.
  • Hostage for MacGuffin: Costa plans to hold Zoe captive to force her mother to give him The Colossus of Nairobi.
  • It's Personal: Zoe's mother is partly intent on catching Costa because he killed her husband, a fellow cop, on his last heist.
  • Karma Houdini: Nico seems to escape judgement for stealing millions of dollars worth of jewelry, although with the Time Skip it's possible that Jeanne vouched for him to receive a pardon or a commuted sentence, and return all that he stole.
    • Justified for Dino since he's a cat.
    • Averted for Costa's gang and Claudine who are arrested and go to jail.
  • Le Parkour: Justified since this is Paris. Nico, Dino, Jeanne and Costa demonstrate this.
  • MacGuffin: A giant statue called The Colossus of Nairobi.
  • Mama Bear: Jeanne. Do not threaten her daughter in her presence.
  • Minion with an F in Evil: Costa's gang. The only one who's competent is Claudine.
  • The Mole: Claudine.
  • Morality Pet: Zoe becomes one for Nico and Dino, though ironically Dino is her literal pet. They spend the second half of the movie protecting her.
  • Motive Decay: At first Costa wants the Colossus of Nairobi, but he starts losing his mind while chasing down Zoe all night and wants her instead and to murder Jeanne.
  • No-Holds-Barred Beatdown: Costa vs. Zoe's mother in the finale, although Jeanne returns the favor.
  • Non-Human Sidekick: Dino the cat, both to Zoe and Nico.
  • Noodle Incident: The heist that ended in Jeanne's husband, Zoe's father, and a fellow cop being murdered.
  • Not Listening to Me, Are You?: Zoe asks this after she catches Nico and Jeanne paying more attention to each other than her story.
  • Not Now, Kiddo: When Jeanne arrests Nico on charges of kidnapping, she ignores Zoe tugging on her shirt and desperately trying to tell her the truth.
  • Oh, Crap!:
    • Zoe when Claudine catches her in Nico's house and grabs her.
    • Jeanne when she realizes that Nico was telling the truth after finding Zoe's bed empty and that she left her daughter in the hands of a real kidnapper.
    • Nico when he starts to fall off Notre Dame.
  • Only One Name: Except for Costa, we don't know the full names of the cast.
  • Perma-Stubble: Almost off the male characters shown have this.
  • Police Are Useless: The two guards at the beginning are effortlessly outsmarted by Nico and Dino. Averted with the actual police, who track down Nico and Dino with old-fashioned detective work.
  • The Precarious Ledge: Nico makes a career of walking along incredibly thin ledges. At some point, he even saves a potted plant from falling off a window sill without so much as a stumble.
  • Rescue Romance: Rather, rescue my child romance. After Nico shows that he's been protecting Zoe, Jeanne saves him and they start a relationship at the end of the movie.
  • Red Right Hand: Claudine's perfume functions roughly as this.
  • The Reveal: Claudine is working for Victor Costa.
  • Running Gag: Dino bothering Rufus, the small and very yappy dog.
  • Sanity Slippage: Costa suffers this when he imagines the Colossus statue arriving to save him.
  • Save the Villain: Jeanne tries to do this for Costa and Nico helps, but Costa is too heavy and suffers Sanity Slippage.
  • Say My Name: Rather, say "MAMA!" after Jeanne drives away and leaves Zoe in treacherous Claudine's hands.
  • Shown Their Work: In the English version, Jeanne correctly refers to Dino as a "tomcat" which means a male cat.
  • Sleepwalking: Nico almost runs into one when he's stealing another priceless piece of art.
  • Snow Means Love: At the end of the film, Paris is coated in a lovely layer of snow as Zoe, Jeanne, Dino, and Nico, presumably married to Jeanne, celebrate a merry Christmas.
  • Standard Female Grab Area: Most of Costa's minions drag Zoe around like this when not carrying her. Justified since she is a young girl and they are adults.
  • Stop Drowning and Stand Up: One of Costa's henchman almost manages to drown in three feet of water — until his boss yanks him up by the collar.
  • Surrounded by Idiots: Aside from Claudine, Costa's minions really aren't all that bright.
  • Tap on the Head: Thoroughly averted. Costa has his head bashed against a steel crane a few times, and promptly begins laughing madly and hallucinating.
  • Teeth Flying: Downplayed. Nico only loses one tooth during his brawl with Costa.
  • That Poor Cat: Claudine scares away Dino with a vacuum cleaner, and Costa tosses Dino twice in the climax, though the first time Dino shows him why you shouldn't do that to a cat.
  • Women Are Wiser: Costa explicitly states that Claudine is the only one he can depend on.