The Oscar-nominated Chico and Rita is both of these things, but it works so well because the music of Bebo Valdés is seamlessly woven through the story. This is not just incidental, or background music; the music *is* the story, and it overlaps quite a lot with Bebo's story.
Now, what we usually think of as Cuban music today is heavily influenced by African rhythms and salsa dance tempos. While such flourishes appear here and there in the club scenes, the heart of Bebo's music is the traditional ballad, or Filin. For lovers of classic musical traditions, it is a joy to hear.
In addition to the thematic music Bebo wrote for the film, the sound track features songs ranging from the Cuban night club acts of the 1940's-50's (featuring Mexican pop classics like "Besame Mucho" and "Sabor a Mi") to the Latin-Bop (Cubop) fusion of New York, with cameo "appearances" by Woody Herman, Charlie Parker, Tito Puente, Dizzy Gillespie, Ben Webster, Nat Cole, Chano Pozo, and Thelonius Monk. While all the music is entirely authentic, I could catch only one spot (Monk) where an historical recording was used. Bebo Valdes and his orchestra recreated all the rest for the film, making it sound as fresh as it was when the story takes place. Nice job!
Of course, this is all animated, and sometimes the artists get an interesting angle on the character. In the Nat Cole scene, his brother Freddie provided the voice-over. The artists (crews in Spain, the Philippines, and Hungary) who were supposedly drawing Nat made him look a lot like Freddie. I wonder how that happened?
So... while the plot is mawkish and cliché-ridden, it doesn't matter. Check out this movie for the music... and, incidentally, for another great rarity in theatrical movies: toon erotica.