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The Cat In The Hat

movie reviewmovie review out of 4 Movie Review: The Cat In The Hat

Starring: Mike Myers, Dakota Fanning
Director: Bo Welch
Rated: PG
RunTime: 78 Minutes
Release Date: November 2003
Genres: Comedy, Kids, Family

*Also starring: Alec Baldwin, Spencer Breslin, Kelly Preston, Sean P. Hayes, Candace Dean Brown, Paige Hurd, Danielle Chuchran, Norman Fessler, Stephen Hibbert, Amy Hill

Review by Susan Granger
2½ stars out of 4

After the tremendous success of Jim Carrey's "The Grinch," I expected the same kind of fanciful delight with Mike Myers as Dr. Seuss's six-foot-tall talking feline. Unfortunately, it isn't there. Not that there aren't amusing moments. There are. Just not as many as there should be. More than anything else, it looks like the prototype for a theme-park ride at Universal Studios.

As the story begins, siblings Sally (Dakota Fanning) and Conrad (Spencer Breslin) are bored, having been left at home with a sleeping baby-sitter while their over-stressed single mom (Kelly Preston), a real estate agent, prepares a company party for her germaphobic boss (Sean Hayes). Suddenly, the Cat in the Hat appears with a "phunometer" to measure their "fun" quotient. Since Sally's a control-freak and Conrad's a rule-breaker, The Cat transports them to a fantastical world - where they meet Thing #1 and Thing #2 - and learn valuable life-lessons, albeit while making the mother of all messes. The bad taste subplot of their mother's smarmy suitor (Alec Baldwin) and the scene with socialite Paris Hilton dancing at a rave should have been left in the litter box.

Problem is: production designer Bo Welch ("Edward Scissorhands," "Beetlejuice," "Men in Black") is a novice director. Working with designer Alex McDowell and cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki, Welch's highly-stylized CGI concept may be inventive and imaginative but his directing isn't. And Mike Myers isn't charismatic enough to rise above the prosaic script by Alec Berg & David Mandel & Jeff Schaffer that veers too far from the mischievous Seussian spirit. On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, "The Cat in the Hat" prowls in with a shtick-filled 6. It's may be a young children's film, but it's not a family film - and there is a difference.

Copyright 2003 Susan Granger

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